This is your final warning

Earlier today, armed demonstrators stormed the Michigan State House protesting the state’s stay-at-home order.

I’m not going to delve in to the specific politics around the stay-at-home order, or whether I think it’s a good idea or a bad one, because there is a more important point to be made here. Actually, two important points.

(1) Nobody got shot. These protesters were not out-of-control yahoos intent on violence. This was a carefully calibrated and very controlled demonstration.

(2) This is the American constitutional system working correctly and as designed by the Founders. When the patience of the people has been pushed past its limit by tyranny and usurpation, armed revolt is what is supposed to happen. The threat of popular armed revolt is an intentional and central part of our system of checks and balances.

We aren’t at that point yet, though. The Michigan legislators should consider that they have received a final warning before actual shooting. The protesters demonstrated and threatened just as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and other Founders expected and wanted citizens to demonstrate and threaten in like circumstances.

I am sure there will be calls from the usual suspects to tighten gun laws and arrest the protesters as domestic terrorists. All of which will miss the point. Nobody got shot – this was the last attempt, within the norms of the Constitutional system as designed, to avoid violence.

If the Michigan state government responds to this demonstration with repression or violence, citizens will have the right – indeed, they will have a Constitutional duty – to correct the arrogance of power via armed revolt.

This was your final warning, legislators. Choose wisely.

828 thoughts on “This is your final warning

  1. Who had “Michigan” on their card for “where ACW 2 broke out?”

    (I don’t think it’ll get that far, but one never knows)

    • TBH, it seems more plausible than most. Generally populist, generally on a downhill slope, and generally cranky.

      • Lets add to that, large swaths of relatively self-reliant folks that feel “ruled” by two or three large-ish metropolitan areas (Detroit-Lansing-Grand Rapids)

        Pretty much everyone north of Flint is not a fan, and large bits south of Flint as well…

  2. The left absolutely REFUSES to listen to anyone on the center or right that says, “stop it or we will ******* kill you”. They think it’s a joke. They think they can stomp on people’s faces forever.

    The leaders of Michigan are morons and tyrants.

      • I agree that the people in the official buildings probably see it that way.

        Unfortunately those who are servants have spent generations thinking themselves masters over all. It is long past time that they were taught that lesson.

        • So if someone had started carrying guns to Congress to protest the draft in 1942, what would your reaction have been?

          • Um, that the person is engaging in the political process via Constitutionally-protected actions? What are you suggesting our reactions should be to that?

            • Your reaction to this seems to be cheering and “Yeah, kill ’em all!”. I’m just wondering if you’d react similarly in other circumstances.

              Anti-draft and anti-shutdown protests are perfectly fine. Anti-draft and anti-shutdown massacres are not. Quit cheering for the latter.

              • “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” — Thomas Jefferson

                The entire purpose of the Second Amendment is to allow the citizenry to overthrow a government turned tyrannical. We are approaching that point.

                • Quite honestly, if we’re using the standards of the time, we’re long passed that point. George III’s parliament was not nearly as tyrannical as our own right now.

                  If the American revolution was just, then so would revolution be now. And I don’t mean just because of the COVID stuff. I mean the crushing tyranny of beaurocracy and taxation that we live under, and the usurpation of state power into federal, and especially the states like NJ, NY, CA, etc. that trample on the second amendment.

                  • George III’s parliament was not nearly as tyrannical as our own right now.

                    But you do have representation now, which lack was the actual trigger of the American Revolution back then.

                    Revolutionary violence is a legitimate response to a situation in which one’s under oppression and lack any recourse, but as long as one has representation and can solve matters by legislative and judicial means, that’s the path that ought to be taken.

                    • I suppose that depends on how much voter fraud is present.

                      In my state for example (Illinois) Chicago does what it pleases. And we are so cynical that “how many dead people voted this time?” is an everyone knows that everyone knows joke.

                      Not being in Chicago, and not voting according to what Chicago wants means that my vote is utterly worthless, because they will just add a couple extra names from the cemetery.

                    • The lack of representation was a factor, but only one. The tipping point was the British trying to cease munitions from the colonists at Lexington and Concord.

                      I’d argue that because of the structure of the government, any significant change through the electoral process is absolutely impossible on a sane time-scale. One cannot elect candidates, reliably, that aren’t establishment. Trump is an abberation; things will return more or less back to normal with the Jeb Bush’s of the world running the party.

                    • But you do have representation now, which lack was the actual trigger of the American Revolution back then.

                      Representation was merely an excuse. Do you really imagine that, had the UK offered the colonies one MP each, the rebels would have said “Right ho, that’s all right then”, and gone home?! Thirteen votes out of 650 would not have defeated any of the legislation the colonists thought intolerable, so why would they suddenly tolerate them?

                    • Reynolds vs Sims.

                      On the federal level we have the Senate and the House, with different seat apportionment. House seats are based on population (theoretically of number of citizens represented, but perversion of the Census throws this into question), Senate seats are fixed at 2 per state. More populous states have more sway in the House, but the Senate means all regions have a say.

                      That decision requires all state level legislative districts to be based on population. No possibility of the regional balancing effect of the Senate allowed on the state level.

              • Are you simply not the sort of aggressive-but-highly-self-disciplined, cautious, strategic thinker that this event is primarily a warning for?

                There are two types of people we don’t have the information to predict the actions off if a civil war were to immediately develop. a) The people who themselves don’t know. b) The people who are keeping their own council, paying careful attention, and waiting. For anyone who thinks ahead to winning that war, both are important, and the b type that overlaps with aggressive-but-disciplined, etc is of fairly critical importance.

                A risk averse game, that reminds people that arms are a widely distributed thing, but that only displays them in disciplined uses that can pass for peaceful assembly, is a best way to retain or recruit the a and b types to the cause.

                Letting people like you and the governor be hysterical ninnies is battlespace preparation. /If/ battle is needed. If not, if you do not actually have the courage of your convictions, the pre existing rule of law wins without a shot being fired.

                Criminals are pretty much all inherently opposed to the pre existing rule of law. People complain about them rotting forever in prison, but killing all of them would be about as effective at the task of preventing them from interfering with the rest of us as we go about our ordinary business.

                The Nazis and the Imperial Japanese were unwilling to tolerate an existing peaceful status quo with the US constitution. We killed them until they rethought that position. That was not the wrong thing, and is not something to regret even if it can be called a massacre.

                • I don’t mind guns in most protest contexts. But inside the legislative chamber is too much like the way a lot of thugs have risen to power for me to be happy. It’s over a line, at least in my eyes.

                  • Historically, more thugs have risen to power through the ballot box. Hitler’s putsch failed, he won some votes instead, and then when he started deploying the guns it was in an official capacity rather than as an external protest. (I’m simplifying here, but not much — see our gracious host’s Why I Am An Anarchist for some further discussion.)

                    Personally I haven’t read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, but I have read another of Shirer’s works, the Berlin Diary. Which begins with the 6th of February 1934 French crisis, which you will note also did not lead to a fascist coup in France.

                    And from a libertarian perspective, most of the world’s supposedly ‘legitimate’ democratically-elected governments qualify as thugs too.

                    Which examples did you have in mind? Pride’s Purge of 1648?

                    • The two that came immediately to mind for me were Napoleon’s coup of 18 Brumaire, and Hitler’s SA/SS thugs surrounding the Reichstag to push through the Enabling Act. But yes, Pride’s Purge would also be a good example.

                      None of these involved any actual violence beyond the level of arrests, you’ll note. Merely the threat of it was sufficient.

            • Oddly enough, distributing flyers opposing the draft isn’t Constitutionally protected.

              (per the infamous “yelling fire in a crowded theater” case)

          • FDR was an evil, evil man, and a tyrant. His organizations were substantially Wilson’s Progressives, who Teddy termed Fake Progressives, and a malignant sore upon the nation. Wilson’s merry friends carried out pogrom mass murders within the US. Look at the massacres of blacks around 1920. They were morally equivalent to the Nazis and the IJA.

            The Axis was no more a serious existential threat than our own modern foes. If lack of enthusiasm in our current wars is not treason, if protesting our current wars is not treason, than likewise was not treason then.

            The Axis needed to be taken down, but FDR was hardly innocent and beyond criticism.

            • The primary difference between Hitler and our Progressives during the Progressive Era is that Hitler cut to the chase and was slightly ahead of the curve.

              We are unbelievably lucky that that happened.

              • Morally, yes. Practically, no.

                FDR died in the mid forties, only about eighty years after the ACW. Very near living memory, and the 1880s were living memory.

                Blacks alive during the 1920s and 1940s had a much higher mix than current that remembered the circumstances where armed was the difference between being murdered by the Democrats and not. They remembered the time before the anti-black terrorism of the ’20s and ’30s and maybe even ’40s enough to give a context to that terrorism. The blacks alive during the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, in comparison, were more heavily shaped by the terrorism of the ’20s and ’30s, and less aware of the previous period. And FDR’s FBI would have contributed to the appearance that his regime was not something that could be safely resisted as part of the ordinary course of life.

                Whites of the time likewise where memories are concerned. Range wars, wild west, Hatfields and McCoys, were lessons in what degree of advantage you could afford to permit your local political rivals. And people remembered Wilson, and thought about it, even if they did not dare speak of it. FDR’s opposition was very different from Hitler’s opposition. And because of FDR mobilizing for war against the Axis, the soldiers propagandized against the Axis could come home, see the Axis’ objectionable qualities in what FDR got away with, and resolve to prevent it from happening again. Which meant that JFK’s opposition was different from Mao’s.

              • Not really.

                There’s a good argument to be made that Hitler was flat out insane and *wanted* to destroy Germany/Europe/The World. The Progressives of that era were…they were wrong, but mostly they really thought (and still do think) that they can order the world the way it’s *supposed* to be.

                • Hitler didn’t want to destroy Germany or Europe until he knew he was losing. Before that, he wanted to own it.

            • I’m not saying FDR should be canonized. I’m not even sure if I’d be pro-draft. But I’d sure as hell be opposed to anyone who tried to intimidate Congress into eliminating the draft.

              (Also, I think you’re way too optimistic about the level of threat posed by the Axis, but that’s a separate conversation.)

              • Slavery is Serious Business. Attempted drafting is easily in the category of crimes bad enough to be worthy of death if there is a death penalty.

                • Then just about every wartime President before the Bushes should have been shot. Including Washington and Lincoln. You can make a libertarian argument here, but you can’t really hold up the American Revolution as a model very well, since Washington et al enacted conscription.

                  • Every President and Congress, to be clear.

                    Maybe if that were a genuine consideration at all times, the politicos would be less inclined to tyranny.

                    The sheep may bleet, but the wolves won’t care until and unless the sheep dogs demonstrate that they, too, have sharp teeth.

              • Cannoninzed.

                As in shot out of a cannon?

                FDR shot out of a cannon?

                Yeah, I’m strangely comfortable with that.

              • I’d sure as hell be opposed to anyone who tried to intimidate Congress into eliminating the draft.

                Fuck off, slaver. There was never any constitutional authority to compel my labor carrying a weapon, and now there’s an amendment that specifically forbids involuntary servitude.

                I would happily take up arms to fight anyone attempting to enforce conscription.

                • >I would happily take up arms to fight anyone attempting to enforce conscription.

                  I’d be with you on that.

                  The first conscious political position I took in my entire life, when I was a child in the 1960s, was opposition to the draft. Robert Heinlein was right: a society that can’t raise enough volunteers to fight its wars deserves to lose them.

            • Look at the massacres of blacks around 1920. They were morally equivalent to the Nazis and the IJA.

              Gramsci alert! Using and you are lynching negroes to draw an equivalence between the US and totalitarian dictatorships is a piece of Soviet dezinformatsiya so hackneyed I thought it only lived on as a punch-line and as a didactic example of tu quoque and related fallacies. But unless BobtheRegisterred[sic]Fool is trolling or otherwise insincere, apparently not.

              • Not lynching. Massacres with tens or hundreds of dead, then in some cases covered up for decades.

                All three of the Nazis, Communists, and Democrats have carried out domestic massacres that in some way profited them politically. That is a reasonable standard of wrong doing for judging when a political organization’s institutional culture might reasonably put it forever beyond the bounds of what one can justify supporting. And look how readily some of the political figures who came out of the most deeply compromised state parties switched their coats towards aligning with the communists once they could no longer politically profit from white supremacism.

                At the moment I’m forgetting if the Oklahoma one was 1919 and Arkansas 1921, or vice versa. Arkansas one was apparently carried out by officers of Wilson’s federal government.

                Definitely there are personal aspects to the degree of my grudge against the American Democratic parties. I think that part of my rating is a) not counting foreigners as truly civilized b) counting foreign lives at a discounted rate, or American lives at a higher rate. Of course, Axis treatment of American POWs was not super kind, and may well exceed anything one could point to in terms of FDR’s CO camps.

                Plus, if numbers are your deal, and if you count abortion, 50 million beats 13 million.

                • Assuming you’re referring to this, it sounds like a bunch of unorganised locals sporadically committing violence. Horrific, yes, but a far cry from the brutally impersonal machinery of the Nazi death camps. There was no bureaucratic government Office Of Killing All The Blacks; the government’s rôle seems to have been economically-repressive Jim Crow laws. Evil as this is, let us not conflate it with industrial genocide, lest we weaken our ability to condemn the latter. (Therdiglob, anyone?)

                  I stand by what I said. Drawing a moral equivalence between these events and Nazi or Communist totalitarianisms is a textbook fallacy.

                • > American lives at a higher rate.

                  Speaking as someone who’s raised his right hand and donned a military uniform in three different decades, I’m perfectly comfortable counting American lives at a higher rate than foreign lives, no matter how civilized.

              • In this case I’m perfectly comfortable with comparing President Wilson *specifically* with totalitarian dictatorships BECAUSE HE TRIED TO BE, and in many senses was.

                Censorship, re-segregating the federal government, etc. etc. He may not have been a thug himself, but he certainly made use of them.

                • I could be wrong, but I think Wilson is largely responsible for discrediting the term “progressive,” leading FDR and other advocates of modernizing society with Scientific Socialism Lite to steal the term “liberal” and relabel the retreating classical liberals as “conservatives.” Their subsequent 30-40 years of failed governance then largely discredited “liberal,” but that’s another story.

                  • Yes, the Progressives keep discrediting their name for themselves and end up having to steal a new one. Only weird part is they keep getting away with it. Voters let them become born-again virgins as many times as they want.

          • The government didn’t need a draft in 1942 to get soldiers – people were lined up to volunteer. It had one, I understand, chiefly as an administrative convenience. Anyone who protested the draft then would have faced public contempt and suspicion, whether they were armed or not.

            • Surely that makes it worse — “it’s not even a matter of military necessity, we’re just enslaving our population for administrative convenience“. How is that OK? I mean, I can understand it in countries that buy into the idea that the individual subject is ultimately the property of the State, but the US is supposed to be the place that rejected that.

          • Carrying weapons to Congress used to be common (though it wasn’t in 1942, yes). Even using them under what one considered to be severe enough provocation was not unknown. Look up what Preston Brooks did to Charles Sumner.

            • I’m quite familiar with it, and even 170 years later I’m disgusted that Brooks wasn’t tossed in jail for it. But Congressmen carrying pistols to defend themselves, or clubbing someone (however brutally) on the Senate floor, is different than an external group showing up as a “final warning”, in our host’s words, of imminent mass murder.

              • of imminent mass murder.

                You keep saying that. Is it your magic talisman you hope will reach into people’s minds to make them think the same way you do?

                • I don’t want you hiding behind bullshit. The stated argument here is “If they don’t do what we want, somebody ought to shoot them to death”. (Or at least “will shoot them to death” – not all posters have explicitly advocated for such)

                  If you say “Yes, this is worth mass murder”, then fine – I’ve said that about killings multiple orders of magnitude larger than this (Hiroshima comes to mind). But you ought to own the label. If you’re not willing to, then you should really re-examine your thought processes.

                  • How about you quit making shit up and pretending we said it, prick?

                    > The stated argument here is “If they don’t do what we want, somebody ought to shoot them to death”.

                    No, it isn’t. You are making that up.

                    If someone threatens me with violence (via law enforcement), continues threatening me with violence, and repeatedly grabs more power and ability to threaten me with violence, my responding by telling that person to stop or I will defend myself with necessary, reciprocal violence is not murder or threat of murder, it is a statement of my right to self-defense especially from a tyrannical government.

                    That you keep pretending there is no distinction between that and your broad-brush accusations of murder-lust is a stunning display of gross dishonesty.

                    That you quibble over what constitutes the correct tyrannical behavior to resist suggests you yourself are a would-be tyrant, or are so ideologically poisoned you wouldn’t know a tyrant if you were being tossed in the gulag by them yourself. Which, as it happens, was a pretty common condition of people treated thus.

                    • >The stated argument here is “If they don’t do what we want, somebody ought to shoot them to death”.

                      No, it isn’t. You are making that up.

                      Quoth ESR:

                      There is a moral difference of some significance between “we’re threatening to kill you right now” and “we’re threatening to kill you if you persist in your anti-Constitutional actions”.

                      The demonstrators were doing the latter.

                      In other words, the protesters were saying “we’re threatening to kill you if you persist in your anti-Constitutional actions”. It’s an argument that includes the justification for doing so, of course, but it’s the same thing. If you do the thing we dislike, we will shoot you to death.

                      Again, there are cases where I accept that argument. If you want to engage in genocide, I will be entirely pro-shooting you to death. But it’s still advocacy for killing.

                      Also, that last paragraph sounds like some of Ayn Rand’s dumber opinions. “If you do not agree with me on literally everything, you’re just a commie who deserves to die in a train crash. Any amount of bad makes everything completely awful and irredeemable.”

                  • I think we need to define our terms. What scale does “mass murder” mean in this context?

                    Also, I take umbrage at the use of “murder”. Murder is an act where killing is the end, not the means. It is not correct to say that a cop cleanly killing a perp in a shoot-out is a murder. It’s also not correct to say killing a man in self defense is murder.

                    I want to reiterate, I don’t personally advocate the means involved here, but if it comes to shooting, I’m not comfortable calling it murder. Calling it killing is fine.

                    Also, the goal of the protesters clearly wasn’t killing, otherwise they would have done it. If it does come to shooting, I’d hope that they would kill the minimum number to get the political change they require, and no more. I’m certainly more than willing to kill to protect my family, but I hope to never need to do so, and when I do, I would stop shooting if the attacker fled.

                    • I think we need to define our terms. What scale does “mass murder” mean in this context?

                      Some substantial fraction of the Michigan legislature, presumably. Anyone on the pro-killing side want to weigh in on the number of bodies you’d think appropriate?

                      I’m not comfortable calling it murder. Calling it killing is fine.

                      I think it’s murder, and the law does, but I accept that most people here disagree with me. I’ve been trying to change up my terminology somewhat as a result.

                      Also, the goal of the protesters clearly wasn’t killing, otherwise they would have done it.

                      People here seem to be saying that the goal is killing next time (assuming they don’t get their way on pandemic response policies), so I was jumping ahead to that one.

                    • People here seem to be saying that the goal is killing next time (assuming they don’t get their way on pandemic response policies), so I was jumping ahead to that one.

                      No, that’s clearly not true. The goal of the protesters is to end the lockdown. Some here see killing as a legitimate means, not the goal. No one here, I presume, *wants* killing.

                    • Fair. The preference order seems to be
                      1) End the lockdown peacefully.
                      2) Shoot the people responsible for the lockdown continuing.
                      3) Accept a continuing lockdown without violent protest.

                      #2 being above #3 is my problem.

        • Destroying the government that tramples on your rights is NOT terrorism, you ass!

          I’d like to better understand this line of reasoning by checking for the presence or absence of belief consistency, as here from abroad (I’m in Brazil) we tend to read a lot about how the US weights things differently depending on the color of who is doing it.

          Suppose this protest was carried by almost 100% black people wearing stereotypical gangsta-style clothes, tattoos etc., and they’re protesting what they understand to be tyrannical acts of the government towards their rights. Other than that, they act exactly the same in all aspects as these demonstrator acted. Visualize this scenario in your mind, as if you were learning of it just now.

          Would you say exactly the same? Or would your interpretation be vastly different?

          This is an honest question. I was pretty opposed to arm bearing rights until a few years ago. This blog has changed my mind on that, but not completely (I’d say I’m about 80% there). So there’s still some way to go before I buy fully into the US-style of right-wing understanding of this matter.

          • In principle, I don’t see a difference. In practice, dressing like gangsters is a sign of culture (as distinct from race) that can be concerning, but I don’t think it’s enough to rule out the merits of such a protest. If it was the exact same as this protest, though, the same concerns about bearing arms that are implicitly aimed at legislatures would apply, though, so I’d oppose that.

            As an example, the Black Panthers of the 60s-70s apparently first rose to prominence by going around town, finding black people getting hassled by cops, and showing up with guns to ensure there wasn’t a power imbalance. That always struck me as a pretty reasonable thing to do, especially in a fairly racist era. Their later escapades (many of which involved assassinating cops) were far less noble, but that first one sounded pretty good to me when I first read of it. It was an open, armed, and explicitly racial threat to the established order, but from the accounts I’ve read it happened fairly soberly, and that part of it didn’t result in actual violence. I have a lot of time for that sort of thing.

            • In principle, I don’t see a difference. In practice, dressing like gangsters is a sign of culture (as distinct from race) that can be concerning, but I don’t think it’s enough to rule out the merits of such a protest.

              Agreed.

              If it was the exact same as this protest, though, the same concerns about bearing arms that are implicitly aimed at legislatures would apply, though, so I’d oppose that.

              Ah, this I think provides a good angle for the misunderstanding.

              For as long as we have an armed citizenry those guns are pointed at the legislature. And the executive, and the courts, and the officers. That is why we are an armed society; the defense against crime is just a bonus.

              But it is easy for the elected servants to forget this when the guns are locked in the safe.

              • I agree with the principle of an armed society as Hitler insurance. I disagree that we’re facing Hitler.

                    • Yes, there is.

                      Hitler and his government was a cult of personality. It would almost certainly have fallen apart upon his death.

                      Stalin was the head of a government and on his death things continued pretty much as they had before, with only slight modifications of his policies.

                      If we were facing a Hitler one bullet would do the job as we’d be facing the results of a single person.

                      We aren’t. We’re facing a Stalin–the perverse results of a system.

            • That always struck me as a pretty reasonable thing to do, especially in a fairly racist era.

              Thank you. I’m a little bit closer to that now. :-)

              I’d like to note though that I read a center-left comment to a news piece about this protest in which the author compiled a small list of similar incidents in the US that were dealt with very harshly by local governments, up to and including by openly firing on protesters. The most recent of those was in the late 1980’s or around that time-frame, I don’t remember exactly. He remarked that in those cases right-wingers didn’t talk about enacting a 2nd Civil War or anything of the sort to oppose governmental tyranny. Rather, most comments on the right-wing media were openly supportive of the governmental reaction.

              That comment is what prompted my question here. Would you say things would be different now? That the right in general changed its instance, moving from a selective support of 2nd Amendment rights to one of full and unconditional support for it? Or is your position in the minority?

              And if it’s in the minority, do you think it’s growing?

              • I can’t answer the question of how racial attitudes changed, because I grew up in an era where the right didn’t care about race, but was constantly lambasted for racism. So I’ve never known the subject to be anything but a political bludgeon for shutting people up.

                There are some related changes that I can speak about though:

                1. In recent years our police have become so corrupt that even many of our Law And Order types are reaching the point of “fuck da police”. The parkland shooting being a good example: cops hiding in cover instead of doing their job, while kids are being killed. But any time someone complains about the police acting like a paramilitary force they are met with whining about how dangerous the job is and so they need all sorts of extra privileges.

                2. Despite what the media tells you the NRA is the ultra-softy, never-seen-a-compromise-they-didn’t-like faction in american gun politics. In recent years the factions that are truly hard line “no infringements, PERIOD” have come to the fore and dominate the conversation on our side.

              • Key question: did the guy list Kent State?

                Because close examination of that incident suggests behind the scene manipulation by the communists.

                The initial shots were fired from a weapon that may well not have come in with the Guard.

                Lots of Americans really do not like communists, and some of them have an eye for the sort of stuff communists pull. Folks who trust mainly written histories in textbooks may not hate communists at all. Folks aligned towards other ways of knowing tend to hate communists because of oral history from neighbors, etc, who had escaped the communists.

                The three things to look for on that list are a) events stage managed by the communists b) events where the news media of the time was a fairly successful disinformation operation c) events in the more warlike period in American domestic history. Regarding c, ACW was the big domestic war, there were very many smaller wars. A lot of that seems to have settled down with the highways, the telephone, the television, and maybe to some degree the railroad.

              • Also, these days the NRA likes to brand itself a civil rights organization. That is apparently a relatively recent shift, with a change in the institutional culture.

                Originally, after the ACW Union officers founded it to promote sports, because they were not happy with the level of marksmanship in Union troops.

                There are some black specific anecdotes in the late 1800s about gun ownership as a way to avoid being lynched, but those were apparently not the mainstream of GOP politics, or anything to do with the NRA.

                The notion of gun ownership as a way to make domestic massacres more costly for governments seems to have developed out of the American experience in WWII. Which did see some immediate acts on thinking along those lines, but the NRA apparently still thought of itself as a sports promoting organization until the forcible 1976 change in its leadership.

              • the author compiled a small list of similar incidents in the US that were dealt with very harshly by local governments, up to and including by openly firing on protesters.

                I’d have to see that list, and research the facts of each case, before I could possibly respond. Just because he has characterized these events as similar to this one doesn’t make it so.

          • Suppose this protest was carried by almost 100% black people wearing stereotypical gangsta-style clothes, tattoos etc., and they’re protesting what they understand to be tyrannical acts of the government towards their rights. Other than that, they act exactly the same in all aspects as these demonstrator acted.

            In particular without completely trashing and vandalizing the surrounding neighborhood? If they managed to pull that of I’d be extremely impressed, given that they’ve never managed a feat like that before. Heck, white leftwing activists can rarely manage it.

            • > If they managed to pull that of I’d be
              > extremely impressed, given that they’ve
              > never managed a feat like that before.

              The marches in the early ’60s were pretty clean where that’s concerned. Not as clean as the TEA Party rallies, but lacked any destruction or deliberate trashing.

              > Heck, white leftwing activists can rarely manage it.

              When have they ever?

          • Suppose this protest was carried by almost 100% black people wearing stereotypical gangsta-style clothes, tattoos etc., and they’re protesting what they understand to be tyrannical acts of the government towards their rights.

            The key phrase there, that hides a lot of crucial differentiation, is “what they understand to be”. Without knowing what “tyrannical acts” they’re protesting, and what rights they claim to be protecting, I can’t answer your question, except to say that the color of the protesters is completely irrelevant — and not one in a thousand of the Michigan protesters we’re discussing would say otherwise. Race consciousness almost doesn’t exist on the political right in the USA; 99% of what you read about it is pure projection from the left, who are obsessed by race and can’t imagine that anyone else isn’t. At almost all right-wing protests or events, actual racists are made unwelcome as soon as they reveal themselves.

      • When you offer me a deal that I would have to be retarded to accept, when you offer me a deal that if I have any sense at all, I will die rather than accept, I may provide a simple no.

        Then if you keep on making the offer, with the same terms I reject before, and maybe hint that I could die if I reject, I may simply say no again.

        (And ‘get in the car or I stab you’ is a bad offer to accept. Better to be stabbed and bleed out in a less convenient location than be transported to a prepared torture room or dumpsite. That most people don’t think that ahead that way, and can be stampeded in to going along, means that my refusal may shock you, but it is only your opinion that you make the life and death decisions for the group.)

        But I can see your agitation. I can calculate what means you may use if I continue to simply refuse.

        Is this an innocent man? Is this a sane man?

        If you are acting in malice, it would be better that I kill you, than it would be for me to be killed by you for refusing. If you are malicious, it is better for me to be killed or maimed while trying to kill you.

        How serious are you? What will you sacrifice?

      • Alsadius> Refusing to negotiate with terrorists is a time-honored approach to questions like that.

        The trouble with this viewpoint is that the term terrorism has a fairly specific definition in federal law — one that doesn’t match what the protesters did here. (Unless you persuade a judge that the mere carrying of a gun is “an act or acts dangerous to human life”, which is a stretch.)

        • Everyone in this thread is treating this protest as an implicit death threat. I’m not sure of the precise legal meaning of “dangerous to human life”, but threats to kill people would seem to qualify under most imaginable definitions.

          • You are dismissing the “we will defend our rights, with force if necessary” interpretation out of hand.

            The obvious counter is that every time a law enforcement officer (for example) walks within n feet of me, I am under an implicit death threat. (And for a large fraction of Americans of one race or another, that’s a arguably a defensible position, not just a snarky one.)

            • I’m not dismissing your argument. I’m taking it seriously. (Plural “you” throughout, FYI)

              You argue that it would be right and proper to murder legislators if they do not change these policies. You claim that this may imminently happen, and seem strongly supportive of such an action.

              You claim that the coronavirus restrictions are a sufficient cause for violent revolution. I acknowledge that this is your argument, and that you sincerely believe it. However, that doesn’t change the fact that a) you are advocating mass murder to get your way on a political question, and b) you live in a democratic republic, and could replace these legislators with others more to your liking if the American public thought similarly.

              Basically, you lost the election, and think that you should not be allowed to lose on this question of policy, so you want to slaughter the other side to give yourselves power. If we were discussing genocide, yeah, I’d be on your side. But we’re discussing face masks and TGI Friday’s. Do you really and truly think that’s worth mass murder?

              And even if the answer to the above is “yes”, remember that murder is very unpopular. You cannot imaginably win the fight that would result if this actually happened. So you’d shoot a few state officials, and then wind up with gun laws like Canada’s or England’s. Do you actually see that as a victory?

              • What part of “if we wait SIX FUCKING MONTHS to vote the bastards out, people will STARVE AND DIE because the FUCKING FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN BROKE DOWN” do you not understand?!

                  • Because people whose livelihood depend on the food supply chain running are sounding the alarm, perhaps?

                    • There’s disruptions, and those will hurt economically. But it’s orders of magnitude too small to create a famine. Food is an industry exempted by every “essential service” law, for obvious reasons, and the biggest issues seem to boil down to “Items that are usually packaged for commercial sale are tough to sell retail”.

                      That is not an issue that will persist in anything even remotely close to a famine. 50lb bags of onions will show up in the grocery stores if there’s no 5lb bags. The equipment all still works, the workers are all still there, and we can adjust to these disruptions if there’s a need. And if households start shopping like restaurants, the supply chain issues will disappear, even economically.

                      A couple million head of chickens getting slaughtered for no gain is trivial by the standards of the food industry – that’s about a tenth of a day’s production. And that’s the worst of the stories I’ve heard. It sucks, both for the businesses involved and on principle. But it’s not a serious threat to the food supply.

              • >Basically, you lost the election, and think that you should not be allowed to lose on this question of policy, so you want to slaughter the other side to give yourselves power

                No that’s not it at all. The specific minutiae of the lockdowns are only surface.

                What gives revolutionaries the right to kill coercive Closer politicians is that they have seized extra-Constitutional powers, which they are exercising in an arbitrary and capricious manner, based on fact claims that it turns out they had no sound warrant to believe in the first place. It’s what the Less Wrong crowd calls a meta-level indictment, not an object-level one.

                Those coercive lockdowns are now continuing in the face of mounting evidence that they do more harm than good, simply because the Closers are too invested in their power grab to back away from it. It doesn’t matter so much what the power grab is about, it’s the grab itself that is a just cause under the U.S. Constitutional system for revolutionary violence

                • Which provision of the constitution is being violated here? (Remember, this is the Michigan state constitution we’re discussing – unlike the federal one, it doesn’t seem to be a constitution of enumerated powers, so for an act to be unconstitutional would require a violation of a specific section, instead of constitutionality requiring authorization by a specific section).

                  As for why the provisions continue, most places seem to be rolling them back, as the disease has peaked and will continue to recede(at least, for the moment). Michigan’s a lagger here, but somebody will always be last. But disagreements over where the evidence points are all a pretty typical part of practical politics.

                  • >Which provision of the constitution is being violated here?

                    Could be the Michigan State Constitution, could be the Federal one. The State government doesn’t get to violate the Federal constitution with impunity. And guarantees of freedom of assembly are clearly at issue here, as well as taking prohibited by the Fifth Amendment. Note that violation of Federal Constitutional guarantees by a state or local government is specifically a crime designated “Conspiracy to violate civil rights under color of law.”

                    I’ll defer to the demonstrators on this; it’s not for me to address or enumerate their object-level grievances, just to make the meta-level point that they were behaving correctly within the Constitutional system in response to an arbitrary usurpation of tyrannical power.

                  • Alsadius> Which provision of the constitution is being violated here?

                    The provisions in the Fifth and Fourteeenth Amendments against depriving people of life, liberty, or property without due process of the law. The governor’s executive order is putting an entire state’s population under house arrest, which self-evidently counts as a deep infringement into the liberty of Michigan citizens.

                    (Remember, this is the Michigan state constitution we’re discussing […])

                    No, not exclusively. The Fourteenth Amendment explicitly applies to the states. And according to the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment, most of the Bill of Rights’ provisions, including those of the Fifth Amendment, apply to the states, too. (For details, you can search the web for the keyword “incorporation”.)

                    • Yeah, I skipped incorporation for brevity. My point was that it’d still need to be a violation of an explicit provision, not an expression of an enumerated power, because I expected the “You don’t even understand enumerated powers!” argument if I didn’t say that. But that is an explicit provision.

                      I don’t think it holds up – curfews, mandatory evacuation orders, and the like are fairly common in disaster situations, and so far as I know they’ve never been overturned. But it’s an argument I think you could take to a judge without too much laughter ensuing.

              • So…you do not agree there are rights that no government, no matter how large the majority, may validly infringe?

                For if there are such rights, then defending those rights, up to and including with lethal force, is justifiable.

                • It is amazing (by which I mean frightening) how often people talk themselves into a corner where — by the beliefs they say they hold without exception — they would have zero moral problem with being the one pulling the trigger at the edge of a mass grave. So long as some authority told them to and it was part of the law.

                • Of course there are. But I’m not sure how something like “Don’t run crowded nightclubs in the middle of a pandemic” infringes any of those rights.

                  • Alsadius> ’m not sure how something like “Don’t run crowded nightclubs in the middle of a pandemic” infringes any of those rights.

                    How about “never leave your home unless someone’s life depends on it”? (It’s item 2 in this particular order.) Are you seeing any infringements of liberty rights in that?

                    • Looking at the lengthy lists of exceptions below that (part 7, in particular), I’m not sure how big the difference between the two is.

                      Also, it looks like the relevant law has been on the books since 1945. Not strictly related to your comment, just an interesting point I hadn’t realized prior.

                  • Have you bloody looked at a map of Michigan?
                    https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus

                    Yes, there are over forty three thousand cases, and yes that’s horrible. But they are all in bloody Detroit and Grand Rapids.

                    Even C frigging NN did a piece a couple days ago, some sixty year old dairy farmer alone on the farm with his forty year old son, nobody else for bloody miles around. Haven’t dumped any milk yet but will soon need to because _everything_ is closed so nobody is buying anything.

                    What do you think is in all of those super pale blue areas in that map? Ninety five thousand square miles of wall-to-wall nightclubs?

                    Now the morons in Orange Beach defying orders and going to the beach anyway? With the population density freaking Los Angeles has? Where’s the righteous indignation for the lives _they_ are putting in clear and present danger? Oh but it’s a blue state, and none of them needed to be packing heat to be acting as implicit mass murderers (bored, no less! Self described at that!). So that’s just peachy then.

                    • https://xkcd.com/1138/

                      Also, remember that rural areas get hit later in pandemics, because it takes time for diseases to spread away from dense hubs, but they don’t typically get hit any less.

                  • The Michigan restrictions are much stupider than that.

                    California hasn’t had nearly as much pushback, because the orders here were much more sensible.

                    This surprised the hell out of me – I’d figured Newsom for a pretty-boy airhead who got ahead using his family money and charm – he certainly wasn’t very good as Mayor of San Francisco.

              • > You argue that it would be right and proper to murder legislators if they do not change these policies.

                Uh, no, I never said that. The only argument I have made so far is that the mere fact of _carrying_ a firearm is not in itself a threat of “murder”, implied or otherwise. If one believes it does constitute such a blanket threat, then my question (which you ignored in favor of attributing multiple arguments to me which I did not make) is why I should not consider any, say, passing LEO as making a similar threat of murder toward me.

                > You claim that this may imminently happen

                I didn’t claim explicitly that it would happen; I certainly don’t have any belief as yet that it will “imminently” happen. (The frog-boiling analogy has already been brought up several times, and my cynical side tends to lean toward that as the most likely outcome.)

                > and seem strongly supportive of such an action. You claim that the coronavirus restrictions are a sufficient cause for violent revolution.

                Bloody when? Link or GTFO.

                • There’s a reason why I specified that I was using “you” as a plural throughout that post. I haven’t been tracking exactly who’s said what for the most part, so it was a general response to the commentariat here. Sorry if that was unclear.

                  • You don’t have to be sorry, just address the actual point I made.

                    Either the mere possession of a holstered firearm is _not_ prima facie an “implicit murder threat” — in which case kindly stop claiming that EVERYONE in the thread is “supporting threats of mass murder”. (Not that I consider myself alone in that but hey, let’s start small and simple.)

                    Or, you can agree that the mere presence of an LEO (or mall cop or whatever) within shooting distance of me while bearing a holstered weapon is similarly automatically making an “implied murder threat” toward me.

                    • ESR’s original post was, in essence, “This is a death threat”. I’m taking that claim seriously.

                      If you wish to argue that it’s not actually a death threat, fine. But there’s a lot of other people here who you should probably mention that to as well.

                    • > I’m taking that claim seriously.

                      Ok, so you are taking the position that armed protest is de facto a potential threat of lethal violence, yes?

                      Next Question: If the protesters were not armed, it wouldn’t be a threat of potential lethal violence, even if the underlying political assumptions (i.e. the occasional necessity of rebellion) are that it is? Politics is war by another means, etc.

                      If your answer to that is yes, then you are clearly ascribing magic powers to the bearing of arms that imbues with lethal menace those carrying weapons. It follows then that anyone bearing arms is so imbued. That necessarily extends to government officers, such as law enforcement.

                      Therefore, since you are complaining about protesters being armed, the logical end is that you believe only government has the right to wield such a lethal threat, and citizens do not.

                      And that is why we’re responding to you the way we are.

                      Do you really not grok this?

                    • Ok, so you are taking the position that armed protest is de facto a potential threat of lethal violence, yes?

                      Not really, no. I’m taking the position that ESR wrote a post saying “These guys are issuing death threats. Please, everyone, take these death threats seriously”. It has nothing to do with magical gun powers, because ESR doesn’t think that way.

                      By the standards of this crowd, I am far from a gun expert. But when all the gun experts say “Yes, this is a death threat, and here’s all the reasons we’re threatening to kill them”, what exactly am I supposed to take from that?

                      And as I’ve said several times, I’m okay with shooting actual tyrants. I smiled to see Saddam Hussein hang, and I’d have smiled even more if it’d been a local rebellion that did him in. Ceausescu’s little Christmas present was well-deserved.

                      But those guys were mass-murdering dictators with infamous iron fists. The Michigan issue seems like the definition of “light and transient causes”, as the Declaration of Independence phrases it. Similarly, I agree with the right of self-defence, but “He was black and had a gun holstered” is not sufficient cause to kill in “self-defence”.

                    • Similarly, I agree with the right of self-defence, but “He was black and had a gun holstered” is not sufficient cause to kill in “self-defence”.

                      Strawman. When’s the last time anyone made such a claim?

          • 5.B.I “to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;”

            Mind that this conditional is not suffixed with the word “or” or “and” — it is not an optional one. The state legislature is not the civilian population, it is a special group of people assigned to oversee the civilian population, while themselves being checked by the civilian population.

            If the governor and/or legislature have gone rogue and are acting against the population, it is the population that has a duty to deal with it. Basically everyone ever understands that bloodshed is preferably avoided, but it is also sometimes necessary.

          • > Everyone in this thread is treating this protest as an implicit death threat.

            No, we are not.

            We are treating the protest as a *WARNING* that if these overgrown HOA presidents don’t stop threatening OUR lives, we will retaliate.

            You are working from the assumption that Government has the right to tell us how to live our lives, and that includes destroying supply chains because they aren’t (and none of us are) smart enough to organize the whole thing from the top down.

            That is an invalid assumption.

            • > overgrown HOA presidents

              That’s the best thing I’ve read ever.

              I wish I could upvote +10 instead of just +1.

      • That’s a fascinating implicit definition of “terrorism” you have there.

        (TLDR: rulers are generally considered legitimate targets.)

          • Soldiers and those who command soldiers are legitimate targets in general, not just in war. Killing them is hostilities/civil war/regular war, not terrorism.

            Or from another POV: It takes two sides to make peace, one to make war. Any side who shoots a ruler makes war.

    • The Michigan Senate and House are held by R’s. From what I understand, the state of emergency expired, meaning that Gov Whitless has no ability to make more rules. The Michigan legislature did not vote to extend the state of emergency and is (if you believe what you read) suing Whitless.

      Yeah this is getting frustrating. People are getting more and more fed up. Some understand it – they’re at risk or living with family members that are at risk – but more people are getting angry and fed up. They were going to accept the May 15 date, but to to extend it to the end of May? Clearly political. Too many people are losing jobs, but many are making as much as before on unemployment. Unknown if Whitless is going to be spanked.

  3. from the Detroit Free Press:
    -snip-
    At least one state senator expressed worry when she saw demonstrators shouting and carrying firearms in the public gallery.

    “Directly above me, men with rifles yelling at us,” state Sen. Dayna Polehanki, D-Livonia, posted on Twitter, along with a photo. “Some of my colleagues who own bullet proof vests are wearing them. I have never appreciated our Sergeants-at-Arms more than today.”
    -/snip-

    No apparent awareness that her own malfeasance and incompetence is what brought those people – her EMPLOYERS – there to complain.

    • Holy cow, I had read this fifty times before finally seeing the crux of the joke.

      You can damn well bet the _first_ law they put on the books was the one declaring Sergeants-at-Arms to be Essential Workers. Healthcare and other assorted losers was two or three days later.

      “Oh please, Mr. Sergeant-at-Arms, you come and stand right next to me. And don’t you trouble yourself about that silly six foot rule, that’s strictly for the proles.”

      I know I just quoted this a few blog posts back (in response to Jeff Read’s approval of Queen Ardern declaring the possession of blunderbusses to be a Privilege Granted by ye Throne and certainly not a “right” of ye dirty little people), but dang it’s not my fault it remains so frequently relevant:

      “E must be a king.”
      “Ow dya know?”
      “E asn’t got shit all over im.”

  4. I’m surprised at how Democrats are screwing this up. Newsom in California is a prime example. I understood the need for tough measures early on, because we needed to flatten the curve and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. But the hospitals are not even close to overwhelmed. In fact, many are in financial trouble and laying off people because of a lack of non-coronavirus patients. Even cancer patients aren’t getting treatment!

    Meanwhile NYC is the epicenter of the worst outbreak in the country, but only yesterday did de Blasio order that subway cars be sanitized once a day! Seems a little late, don’t you think?

    We have 600 unemployed for every virus death, and millions of people who want to get back to work are stopped by government officials whose pay and jobs aren’t threatened. Cheering on the lockdowns are the professional class of lefty pundits, who can work from home. The message seems to be “Screw the proles and small businesses, and oh by the way, vote for us in November so we can stop Trump!” It’s a bold plan….

    • > We have 600 unemployed for every virus death

      That’s virus death that happened, not death the lockdowns are preventing (which is the relevant comparison-point).

      How many people die in the “just reopen everything” scenario? Best estimate I’ve seen for IFR is 2% with functional hospitals, 4% if overwhelmed (which they would be) and herd immunity kicks in at 40% at the earliest, so 1.6% of Americans dead (roughly 5 million). Obviously weighted toward the old and the poor.

      That’s a *lot* of casualties.

      Using any of the standard numbers for weighing lives against money, that’s several years worth of GDP.

      Also, that sort of devastation would almost certainly wreck the economy worse than the lockdowns have done. I don’t have a formal model of this, but it’s both common sense and the strong consensus of economists.

      So what should we do? Work as fast as we can toward a plan to reopen noncatastrophically. I’m mostly hoping for a vaccine (we could start rolling it out in a month if our society were halfway sane), but a lot of smart people think a test-and-track system could be assembled faster. Either way, capacity should be estimated by doing math on actual numbers before we start betting all our lives.

      • Real deaths are a fraction of what the models said would happen with lockdowns far more restrictive than this. At this point it has become clear that doing nothing would probably still have fewer deaths than the deaths-with-lockdown model said.

      • You’re ignoring the studies that show known infection rates are at least an order of magnitude too low. In short, far more people are being infected than the official numbers say. Further, there’s no way to stop it short of herd immunity in the absence of a vaccine. Finally, you are ignoring the serious public health consequences of the worst economic crash since the Great Depression. In short, the numbers just don’t support lockdowns, and people are NOT going to stay locked down till we get a vaccine in 12-18 months.

        We’re reopening whether our Democrat lords and masters want us to or not, and sooner rather than later.

        • An order of magnitude? Are you saying NYC is 200% infected?

          Seriously, I’m sure there are plenty of terrible models out there. The one I’ve been working from is:

          https://statmodeling.stat.columbia.edu/2020/03/17/estimates-of-the-severity-of-covid-19-disease-another-bayesian-model-with-poststratification/

          Finding IFR is actually rather tricky, and I tend to expect Andrew Gelman to get a lot right. This is his shtick.

          But if you don’t trust him and want something simpler: San Marino has *already lost* more than 0.1% of its total population to covid. Belgium and Italy aren’t far behind. Do you really think the pandemic is more than 10% over?

          • Yeah, maybe.

            It might already be over.

            Culture and mores are not uniform over the whole human population. In space or time.

            Some places are effectively run by screw ups who for all practical purposes do not care about human life. People may try to deny the spatial variation, but I am sure that you will not deny the temporal variation. Unless you propose that Bergen-Belson was a result of that government trying to preserve human lives in the same way that your favorite modern government would?

            A person can believe that the customs of the modern Italians are substantially bad where ordinary respiratory diseases are concerned. A person can believe that the ordinary death rate for Italians each year from flu was already high.

            I certainly already disliked Italy, Belgium, New York City, etc, and am quite prepared to believe them callous or incompetent enough to have unusually high death rates. I’m not sure where this San Marino is, but if it is in California, likewise with bells on. I also do not trust any government anywhere enough that I would never believe that their official numbers are fraudulent.

      • >How many people die in the “just reopen everything” scenario?

        How many die if we keep everything closed? Models suggest the Great Recession caused (in the modern sense of that word) the deaths of 200K people.

      • How many people die in the “just reopen everything” scenario? Best estimate I’ve seen for IFR is 2% with functional hospitals, 4% if overwhelmed (which they would be) and herd immunity kicks in at 40% at the earliest, so 1.6% of Americans dead (roughly 5 million). Obviously weighted toward the old and the poor.

        Bullshit. This numbers are pulled out of someone’s ass.

        If we did a *hard* reopen with *good*, reasonable and accurate explanations of why people should work from home where possible, wear masks when contact with the general public, and practice good hygiene (wash your hands with soap between tasks, disinfect your hands or change gloves between patients/clients/etc) you’d at best see a minor blip.

        People I see (and I’m shopping for and delivering groceries for a rather miserable living right now) are wearing masks/face coverings (about 2/3rds of them anyway) and are mostly following the protocols. Between them and those who will stay sequestered as much as possible, no there will NOT be a massive upswing in the cases.

        In fact I’d go so far as to bet (if I had any cash left to bet with) that there will continue to be a general downward slope in cases as we head into the summer months, and we won’t see any problems again until next flu season.

        Or we can keep everyone locked up and watch our entire supply chain fall apart because NO ONE understands all of the “essential” jobs to keep it running.

        The virus has been moving around the country since *early January*. The first confirmed death with Wuhan involvement was in early *FEBRURARY*.

        Allowing businesses, including bars, restaraunts and gyms to reopen doesn’t mean going back to “normal”, it means letting people make choices about what levels of risk they can tolerate.

        On the flip side they have to learn to properly evaluate risk. This virus is about as deadly as the flu would be *if we didn’t know how to treat it*. We do know how to treat the flu and we *still* lose 12 to 61 THOUSAND people every year.

        CDC estimates that influenza has resulted in between 9 million – 45 million illnesses, between 140,000 – 810,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 – 61,000 deaths annually since 2010.

        (Note that there are some people who make a credible argument that these numbers are exaggerated. There is also credible evidence that the numbers of Wuhan Virus deaths are exaggerated, but not at the same scale)

        Are we going to shut the country down every time a Republican is in the White House and we have a bad flu year? Are we going to lock down the country every time a new bug comes out of China or Africa?

    • Point of order: De Blasio can’t order the subways to do anything, and hasn’t. He has no control over the MTA.

      And cleaning the trains every day would be difficult without closing the system down for a few hours, which means having to make other arrangements for those who depend on the system during that time. The MTA finally decided that with ridership down only 12,000 people use the system between 1am and 5am, so they’ll close it then and provide alternatives for those 12,000.

      Probably more important than the actual cleaning will be rousting the bums out at least during those hours, which it is to be hoped will mean that some fraction of them won’t immediately go back in.

      This is a problem increased at least an order of magnitude right after the New Year, when the new bail laws came into effect. I was riding the subway every day, at off-peak hours including late at night, and it was very noticeable. It was hard to find a car that wasn’t being used as a bedroom/toilet by at least one bum, and the police were unable to do anything about it. I once saw a pair of cops trying to get one of these people to at least sit up instead of lying down. Eventually they gave up. (And unlike the subways, the cops are under De Blasio’s authority.)

      But I understand that when most people (including me) stopped riding the system the problem got even worse, probably by another order of magnitude. So we’ll soon see how much it’s mitigated by the new regime of forcing them out once a day.

      • And cleaning the trains every day would be difficult without closing the system down for a few hours

        I’m entirely willing to believe that the MTA designed an entire railway system that’s incapable of cycling rolling stock out of service for maintenance, but am unclear on why in that case pension revocation and prosecutions for negligent homicide aren’t underway.

  5. Politics is semi-sarcastically defined as “making decisions via words, not swords” (It really comes from Plato’s “Republic”, AKA Plato’s “Politiká”, ‘the affairs of the cities’).

    Showing up with swords speaks to that older tradition, and not the explicitly revolutionary tradition of the American revolution. It causes more than a little concern.

    –dave
    (Canadian guy, from the British side in the revolution (:-))

    • >Showing up with swords speaks to that older tradition

      Fact. There are cantons in Switzerland that have retained the requirement that in order to speak and vote at a town meeting, you need to carry a sword.

      There is good reason that this requirement has survived the obsolescence of swords as practical weapons. If you don’t immediately grasp that reason, I strongly recommend that you think about this for a while.

      • Which is understood in those cantons, but would cause bewilderment in, for a random example, either ancient or modern Greece.

        My point is that the United States has created a new tradition, very different from the British of (mad) King George III, but which is not known to everyone, even in America. To someone from outside that specific tradition, arming oneself has a meaning almost exactly the _opposite_ of what you are expressing.

        And yes, they’re wrong. But unless you communicate that effectively, you’re going to be regarded as offering to “end the King’s Peace”.

        I know and respect your tradition, but I swore an oath to defend the Queen’s Peace, so I’m rather aware of the other one (;-))

        • To someone from outside that specific tradition, arming oneself has a meaning almost exactly the _opposite_ of what you are expressing.

          And yes, they’re wrong. But unless you communicate that effectively, you’re going to be regarded as offering to “end the King’s Peace”.

          And that’s a big problem with the 2A community in general. Gun Culture 2.0 is great for a number of things, but really bad at communicating its real goals. So much focus on both gaming and self defense, not so much on the cultural importance and meaning of being armed.

          I can’t blame the community too much, however. The rest of the country has such a naive understanding of guns, violence, and the nature of power that any communications with them is an uphill battle because you’re effectively speaking a different language.

          • It’s surprisingly easy for me to understand the US debate, despite being a foreigner and from a very different governing tradition.
            Two of the problems of starting a dialog are
            – how _long_ it takes to get started communicating with someone who wants to debate it good faith, but doesn’t know you have hugely different basic assumptions
            – finding yourself debating with someone who _doesn’t_ want to debate it in good faith, but sounds a lot like the first guy (:-()

      • I can think of two. The easy one is that it helps keeping people polite. The harder one is, how to put it… talk about government is often put in overly light and sweet terms. That, like, it is how society discusses and solves its problems. In reality, government is all about the direction of the use of force, be that war or law enforcement. It is a far more serious and harsher business.

        Talking about the state in such light and sweet terms, was often noticed and criticized by libertarians, but I am not sure they understand the reason. The reason is that there was such a thing as a state and a state church, then they got separated, and now the state itself became a church, exactly as Pobedonostsev predicted. Why and how it happened is a long story.

        But the result is best put into the model of four-class analysis. The warrior-aristocrats are gone. There are soldiers, you might be a sheepdog, but ain’t aristocrats. Basically the priesthood took over, but it is not really the old, openly religious priesthood, but intellectuals who act in the role of priests, telling coordinated stories, telling what is right and wrong etc. The other two classes, entrepreneurs and employees roughly stayed as they were.

        When the warrior-aristocrats were in power, the symbol of government was openly the sword or sceptre. They knew and admitted that it is about force. When the secular priesthood took it over, it had to become something like a church.

        • Inana has stolen the temple from An, wantonly unleashes her wrath upon any who would disrespect her by raising a competitor, and sends her heavenly bovines to trample those who spurn her. Remember Ebih! Remember Enkidu!

    • (Canadian guy, from the British side in the revolution (:-))

      Well there’s yer problem. /s

      But your objection is a mild one; I can’t wait to see Winter’s sputtering when he wakes up.

    • The Greek Democracies and Roman Republic are perhaps better understood as armies that to function at their best had to distribute shares in the government that they used to extract resources from the territory they held. There is a reason that they did not give women the vote, and it was sound for them.

      America’s Republic is in this model, except that modern firearms make it practical to extend a provisional share to women and the poor.

      Your society is rather more in the line of warrior aristocrats providing military service up the hierarchy, with land disbursed down the hierarchy to fund things, and everyone else as chattel.

  6. Wolverines!

    That happens to be the famous war cry in Red Dawn (1984) and also the mascot of the University of Michigan.

  7. Serious upheavals begin by moving very slowly, then arrive suddenly.

    Kinda like a 100-carriage fright train.

  8. Guestapo Gretchen has a problem, but why not Guestapo Gavin, or Concentration Camp Cuomo.

    In ignored flyover country news, Governor Kristi Noam of South Dakota, that just said “use your common sense” had a parade around the governor’s mansion in support. The only hotspot is a Chinese owned Pork processing plant staffed by muslim refugees.

    Next door in Wyoming where the restrictions are not “stay at home”, there were fairly loud protests. No difference in guns, but here people open carry everywhere so it would be hard to detect an escalation. Considering the distrust, the per capita gun ownership is more than 2x the next highest state. Note Governor Guestapo Gordon was the least conservative GOP candidate since the true ones split the vote. The Democrat running was to the right of Mitt Romney.

    Noam 2024!

    • > The only hotspot is a Chinese owned Pork processing plant staffed by muslim refugees.

      Er…why do either of those things matter? Do you think that the virus cares where you’re from?

      • Do you know what “social distance” means? The term didn’t just spring up from the brain of Zeus this year you know.

        Different cultures have different ideas of how far apart people stand, how much physical contact there is, etc. This is called “social distance”, and it is one of the major factors in how easily diseases spread through the population.

        • Sure, and I could see that argument for Chinese, but most Muslim refugees I’ve ever met don’t seem to come from low-personal-space cultures in nearly the same way. I’d expect Manhattan to be far worse, and relative to population Manhattan seems to be doing best among New York’s boroughs.

          The meat plant part of the above-quoted sentence seems far more relevant to me than the nationality of those involved.

          • You haven’t seen many Northern Plains Scandinavians. For them, 6′ is uncomfortably close. Similarly, facing directly at someone while talking is kinda aggressive.

          • I can tell by your comment that you’ve never spent much time in an Arabic country

            I swear half the time dealing with Saudis in KSA was spent backing up to get out of breath range.

            • This is true. I’m familiar with Muslims in this part of the world, but I’ve never been to a country where they were a majority.

      • Do you think soil is magic, changing deeply ingrained subtle behaviors by standing on it?

        Am I suddenly going to start thinking in a fashion you consider sane, simply from standing on Italian, Belgian, Russian, Canadian, Austrian or Californian soil?

        Would I suddenly stop being a huge Curtis LeMay fanboy if I visited Japan? Stop admiring Sherman if I stayed in a hotel in Atlanta? Stop loving the passive periphrastic, Cato the elder’s example, the phrase, and the standard the Romans set for us in the Punic wars if I were to walk the site of Carthage?

        With great effort a person can change their future self to be different from their past self. Barring the destruction of the self, a person’s past selves are visible in their future selves. People are influenced by the people they are around. When a person moves from being around one group to being around another group, they bring traces of the first group’s influence.

        Carthage ought to be blotted out.

      • > Er…why do either of those things matter?

        What, you believe that all cultures are the same all the way down?

  9. This is likely to escalate.

    The left is predictable. They never learn. They never reconsider. They never, ever reflect on the possible long-term consequences of their actions. They will only double-down.

    • I really wish the left did not have the determination of the Terminator mixed with the stupidest political ideas ever conceived by mankind.

    • Escalation scenarios?

      1. Sheriffs and local governments refuse to enforce Gestapo Gretchen’s orders?
      2. Guys with guns start guarding businesses that open?
      3. Good old fashioned tree decorations?
      4. Widespread disobedience?
      5. Nothing?

      At this point my money is still on #5.

      • I believe there have already been several county sheriffs and local PDs stating they’re not going to enforce some or all of the various parts of the orders.

        First one that comes to mind was the “no taking out personal watercraft.” If going out fishing or even just to get out in the fresh air and sun on a boat, which will FOR SURE keep you at LEAST 6ft away from other people (except maybe your family that’s on the boat with you, but you’d otherwise be locked in your house with them, so) thenwhy ban it?

        Oh, wait, I recall now. Because you’d have to touch a gas pump handle that might’ve been touched by someone else who might’ve had COVID. Local PD / county sheriffs all pretty much said “yeah, we ain’t worrying about people out on their boats.”

        So, I’d say right now we’ve got a mix of #1, maybe a dash of #3, and a sprinkle of #4.

  10. Something worse few notice, and where are the SJWs?, is that 80% of the deaths are people over the age of 80.

    If 70% of the deaths were blacks, or women, or pick your victim group, there would be an outcry.

    We are making the AIDS mistake – Mayor Diane Feinstein didn’t close the bathhouses so tens of thousands died – but we had to worry suburban housewives about the risks.

    That is the root of the problem. 1. We are NOT protecting the vulnerable demographic, and 2. we are destroying people’s lives with a general lockdown.

  11. Tyrants ACTIVELY WANT the Obamic Plague to last as long as possible. This is the opportunity of a lifetime for them. Destruction of the economy and mass casualties must continue until they have completed their usurpation of power.

  12. I *wish* these militias would apply some larger-scale strategic thinking.

    “Just reopen everything” is a terrible idea, but there are good policies that aren’t getting implemented.

    Last I checked there are two vaccine candidates that we’re pretty sure are safe and effective. Pretty sure isn’t good enough, but it could become completely sure given a hundred person challenge trial and a month. That would be illegal, but it could happen with a militia guarding it.

    We still don’t have decent numbers for total infected or reproduction rate. We could, if we did random testing, which we could easily afford by using non-FDA-approved tests. It would be illegal, but it could happen with a militia guarding it.

    We also don’t have good data on how antibody tests relate to the progress of the disease. The solution is simple: find some high-risk people, test them daily with all the Ig- tests and a QPCR, graph results starting from time-of-infection. I’m not sure if this would be legal, but I bet the reasons it hasn’t been done involve a lot of governmental friction. All that could be cut through with determination, goal-oriented thinking, and firearms.

    Less ambitiously, there’s PPE issues. I’m not sure if there are factories that are physically but not legally capable of making medical-grade meltdown fabric. If so, they could be guarded.

    Failing that, imported PPE is being seized by feds and vanishing. Militias could protect it.

    We’re in this awkward position where the people who know what specific tyranny is taking place and the people who are prepared to take up arms against tyranny are in different social bubbles.

    Eric: Might you be able to bridge them?

    • Actually, a challenge trial would be ethical, and arguably legal.

      The ethical question in the trial is “does the volunteer have an equal or better chance of being treated as well as if they caught it accidentally”.

      In any trial managed by doctors, they would be guaranteed as good or better treatment than a random person off the street.

      –dave
      (Legal in Canada, ethical globally. Legality in your jurisdiction? Seek local legal advice (;-))

      • Speaking of challenge trials, I’m endlessly amused that an allegedly scientific civilization hasn’t thought of reopening one city, as opposed to say the entire country at once.

        Prototypes? Phase I trials? Are they tasty?

    • You seem to presume that there are effectively officers doing strategy for the militia which could be contacted, provided with information, and then act on it.

      The people with those strengths well developed are likely to be very risk averse, and militia-like-behavior leadership above the NCO level is likely to be wisdom-of-crowds or playing a very cautious deniable game.

      Officer-like leaders likely to be effective in a civil war are either professionally trained, or have developed a fairly high level of ability. Professional training is most likely to be in the US military. US officers are developed in the direction of strategic thinking, but are very cautious of losing their pensions, and very aware that, even post retirement, because they still hold commissions the UCMJ still has some jurisdiction. NCOs are developed away from strategic thinking. Amateurs with high ability and excellent strategic thinking know that professionals have some serious advantages, and would not lightly risk committing to a fight with them.

      Your ‘better’ strategic choices are also things that force in aid of would be more of a clear cut criminal act. The actual people with guns at this are most likely either a) prior service military b) civilian gun owners who are not criminals. The military actually will imprison people whose history in service shows a pattern of willingness to use force in aid of criminal acts. The people who have actual careers in the military become a little bit careful of the legalities of their use of force. The selection pressure on civilian gun owners is a little different, but similar net result. The people inclined towards crime go into crime, the people not inclined stay out of prison by not being hyper idiots. These people aren’t going to be finding obviously criminal ways to use force with wisdom-of-crowds leadership, unless they are very stressed, with provocations that look civil war like. (And sure, there are heavily armed criminals in America. Those wind up dead if they use force at every prompting, as opposed to just when they can profit criminally. They aren’t seizing drug trafficking turf at a state capital building.)

    • > “Just reopen everything” is a terrible idea,

      No, it isn’t. We’re past the hump, we have a handle on how to keep the spread rate down (masks, hand washing, distancing) and other work, no one is being forced to get out there and interact with the great unwashed.

      > but there are good policies that aren’t getting implemented.

      Yeah, welcome to the real world.

  13. As a resident of Michigan, it’s interesting to follow these protests and both how the various news covers them and the responses (in the comments on said news) from people.

    On one forum site I’m a member, the members are largely in favor of the protests, with many of the commenters going so far as to say they’d be attending precisely BECAUSE they’re currently sitting at home waiting to go back to work. Yet, when you hit up the comments on Detroit News or (lord help you) the Michigan sub-Reddit and the best way to describe many of the comments is “government me harder Mommy Whitmer!”

    My feeling fairly quickly went towards, if the state gov here had gone with a “look, we don’t know how bad this thing is going to get, or how infectious it is, but it looks like it could be quite bad. So we’re *strongly* recommending you and your employers make arrangements to work from home and that people stay away from other people. Be sensible about this.” Then quite likely, there’d be no protests.

    But instead, we got Whitmer going from 0 to near full lockdown in barely a week, then adding restrictions in what felt like a very capricious manner. Which only served to further aggravate people. Frankly, at this point, if people think the Blanchard-Engler-Granholm years were bad, well, they ain’t seen nothin’ yet…

    • > Yet, when you hit up the comments on Detroit News or (lord help you) the Michigan sub-Reddit and the best way to describe many of the comments is “government me harder Mommy Whitmer!”

      I wonder how many of those were planted by the state government. One of the fascist left’s favorite tactics is to make their popular support look bigger than it really is–witness practically the entire 20th-century history of the media.

      • You think the only way to get a bunch of left-leaning comments on Reddit is for governments to fake them?

        You’ve never been on Reddit, have you?

    • I don’t know those specific commenters, but I know a bunch of people who are financially much better off if the government forbids them to work than if they chose not to because it’s unsafe. They have contracts with force major clauses, and the government action keeps them off the hook for large amounts of money they don’t have.

      I don’t know how common this is. My circles could easily be nonrepresentative. Either direction.

      Just one more factor in the mix.

      • Frankly, right now, my wife is doing MUCH better because her employer laid her off (I’m still working, and would be up the solid waste creek without a motive device if I were laid off.)

    • Just to check my impressions, Michigan’s legislature has been trying to take away Whitmer’s emergency powers and stop the lockdown, right? All the irrational diktats have come from the Governor alone, and she’s the one people have been protesting?

      • Yep. Right now the legislature is Republican-controlled and the Governor is a Democrat. So for the most part, the legislature blocks or tries to block her, and vice-versa.

        IIRC, the first protest was over the heavy-handedness of the lockdown orders, largely a bunch of small business owners who’re getting absolutely HOSED. Operation Gridlock was intended as both a protest and something of a slap in the face. Namely, everyone involved (which was most) would obey the “social distancing” requirements, by staying in their cars and driving in a circle on the streets around the capitol building (while still letting emergency services and PD through.)

        This protest looks like they skipped the traffic jam and went for boots on the ground and in the building, and likely was because she’s extending the order and the rumors (at the time, since proven true) that she was going to extend / continue with the state of emergency declaration with or WITHOUT the legislatures agreement. Add to that comments that could be boiled down to “I’m not giving up these powers and no one can make me” sort of things, and well…

        Here we are.

  14. Do you want a gun ban? Because this is how you get a gun ban.

    Whether you think it’s right or wrong, the PR on this is disastrously bad. Waving your gun to make a political point is about as socially acceptable as waving your dick to make a political point.

      • If you think it’d be “the politicians”, and not ~70% of the nation’s populace, you’re missing the point.

        • In recent years we have learned that far far more of the populous is us than we ever expected.

          First was the slow breaking of the media stranglehold through talk radio and then the internet. Then the election of Trump instead of Her Holiness. Then the Lobby Day Rally. Now that all across the country — even in places we had written off as hopeless — people are angry with the obvious crap the politicians are ordering.

          • People, yes. A majority, though? There’s a majority who think the left sucks, for sure. The number who want to murder them is not a majority. (And thank god for that.)

            • I don’t want to murder every leftist. (It would make a helluva dent in my ammo stash.) However, every tyrant in political power is fair game, and has been since 1776.

                • Popular revolutions don’t get that way because everyone all at once decided on the same opinion.

                  It is a dance: provide enough of a threat that the powers are forced with a choice of either backing down (you win), or responding with excessive force (you win). As this process is repeated you eventually reach the legitimacy collapse stage, only then does everybody join your cause.

                  • In theory, sure.

                    In practice, it’s vastly more common for the idiot amateurs running the “revolution” to shoot themselves in the foot, destroy their popular support, and wind up watching their movement crumble. Usually with a nice side order of death and/or jail time.

        • If what the majority wanted was a factor in America, illegal immigration would be zero, legal immigration would be a fraction of its present number, and the Mexican border would be a solid wall.

          America isn’t a democracy, though.

          By the way, did you know ad populum is a fallacy?

          • It’s only a fallacy if my argument was “it’s right because people want it.” My actual argument was “you’ll lose elections because people disagree with you.” That’s not a fallacy.

    • > this is how you get a gun ban.

      Do you want the boogaloo? Cause this is how you get the boogaloo, folks.

      > the PR on this is disastrously bad.

      Only to shrinking violets, leftist assholes, and tyrants. Fuck ’em.

      > socially acceptable

      Given this is explicitly political, I assume you actually mean “politically correct.” Lots of things can be socially acceptable but still fucking reprehensible, therefore that is a shit measure.

      I suspect you underestimate the degree to which this is good PR. A very large segment of the citizenry is very pissed off these days. So far they’ve been nice. They enjoy when someone stands up and reminds the tyrannical bastards that niceness is a courtesy that can and will be rescinded if needs must.

      Think that’s a rude thing to do? Good, that means you’re listening. Take it seriously.

      • I too use cutesy names for mass murder. It’s what all the cool kids are doing.

        You might think that the PR shouldn’t be bad, but that doesn’t change what it is.

        And no, I didn’t mean “politically correct” at all. That term has a distinct lack of concrete meaning, and even insofar as it is useful, it applies to totally different situations. I mean that if you go to a random neighbour in a random mid-sized American town, and said “Yeah, I went down to the legislature the other day. Made sure to pack heat too, so that those bastards will get the right idea”, you’d be unlikely to get three cheers for your bravado. The most likely response you’d get is them telling their kids not to ever visit your house.

        • > I too use cutesy names for mass murder. It’s what all the cool kids are doing.

          Since you are apparently ignorant about this, allow me to inform you: the boogaloo is not shorthand for mass murder, it’s shorthand for Civil War 2: Electric Boogaloo.

          That you seem not to know this speaks heavily to the reasons why you are so confused about what people are saying; you actually don’t know what we’re talking about, and have decided to adopt your own prejudices as explanation.

            • What do you think war is, exactly?

              A thing which is distinct from murder. As evidenced by (a) defeated line combatants generally not being tried for murder by the victors, and (b) the concept of “war crimes” as something not logically entailed by “war”.

              To reiterate Andrew Ward’s point elsewhere: you seem unable to distinguish between “murder” and “killing”. Not every killing is a murder.

              • Sure, launching attacks on organized bodies of enemy soldiers is generally in a different category. So when the Michigan legislature dons uniforms and operates as a military force, then shooting them is “war”. Have they done so?

                I was overly brief above, and should probably have expanded a bit. Revolutions and civil wars, especially in the opening phases, tend to look very little like a true war. Don’t think of the American Civil War circa Fort Sumter. Think of Bleeding Kansas. Or, more likely, the revolutionary bombers of the 1960s, who never got anywhere near “war”, and just did occasional terrorism and rapidly devolved into coke-addled bank robbers.

                We’re not talking about Geneva Convention stuff here. There is currently no group you can attack in a war-like fashion, aside from the US military itself, and I doubt anyone here has that in mind. Nor is the existence of any such group on the horizon. If the right engages in a lot of mass murder I’m sure the left will form up into paramilitary groups, but while that might involve you starting a war, it won’t represent you fighting one when you start.

              • Fun fact: for centuries only assassination, secret killing, was considered murder.

                The most recent term I know of for killing boldly, from the front, is ‘vig’. When committing vig, a) they can fight back, making it an unforgeably costly act, and b) you can and will be held responsible, even if the act itself is legal.

                Conflating vig and murder is very convenient for those who wish ultima ratio regum to remain solely in the domain of kings.

                • for centuries only assassination, secret killing, was considered murder

                  Yep, it’s one of the things about saga-period Iceland mentioned in DDF’s Legal Systems Very Different From Ours. Apparently if, after killing, you went past three dwellings without reporting the killing to the inhabitants of any of them, it was considered murder and you forfeited legal defences like “he attacked me first” or “he’s an outlaw”.

    • Sooo…
      You define “waving your gun” to be carrying a firearm slung or in a holster?

      Because I watched a bit of coverage on Youtube (FROM one of the TV stations, NOT a crappy cell phone video from someone in the crowd) and the only things waving around were American and Gadsen flags.

      Before you jump in saying “but the optics are still bad from that,” they’re bad BECAUSE the anti-gun crowd has MADE them bad.

      • And anyone who doesn’t have their head in an anatomically impossible position should have figured out over the last few years that saying or doing what is considered politically “rude” is probably what you should do. Trump does it every day, and despite having as much mud hurled at him as is physically possible none of it sticks.

      • I see two possibilities.

        1) The guns were irrelevant to the protesters’ point. In which case, focusing on them this much is erroneous, and tbh a bit weird.

        2) The guns were relevant to the protesters’ point. In which case, you guys are right that it was an implicit threat of mass murder over a question of the details of pandemic response. Which is, if you’ll pardon my French, totally fucking insane.

        This is not some poor benighted dictatorship we’re discussing. The state election is in six months. If you think the current crop of legislators is doing a poor job, you can replace them with their opponents, not with well-aerated, room-temperature versions of themselves. Even with four-boxes models, you’re about one and a half boxes in and trying to jump to #4.

        • Did you know that every politician has a gun to the head of every citizen, via law-enforcement, all the time, with the implicit threat of murder?

          Many citizens want to make sure that world-state is actually balanced, and ensure that the politicians are viscerally aware of that, especially in a time where civil liberties are already constantly under serious attack never mind the draconian pandemic response. And you think that is insane?

          • We do not live in a society where people are murdered by the government over policy disagreements. If you’re arguing that this is turnabout and thus fair play, then you need to bridge the gap between killing Michael Brown for assaulting a cop and killing Gretchen Whitmer for disagreeing with you about legislation.

            So far, nobody in this thread has even attempted to do so. It’s all been chest-thumping about how somebody else might get violent.

            • We do not live in a society where people are murdered by the government over policy disagreements.

              If you really believe that call your local police and tell them that you are turning your house into a combined Meth and Machinegun factory. By your own words you have nothing to fear.

              Or, perhaps you could be honest and admit that if you do not follow the dictats you will be raided with tremendous force, and little care if one of the members of the SWAT team should get an itchy trigger finger.

              • I don’t fear that they’d send out a sniper team to kill me for it, no. I certainly have no particular fear of calling up the police and saying that their gun and drug laws are dumb, or that I’ll be voting for the Legalizing Dangerous Stuff Party – policy advocacy is perfectly acceptable. Likewise, I wouldn’t mind telling them I was an elected official representing the LDSP.

                Presumably you’re not an anarchist. (If you are, disregard the following – we won’t agree anyway.) If not, that means that you think laws are in a separate category than the views of individuals, and that they can be enforced more readily and violently. Of course the cops enforcing laws and me enforcing my preferences aren’t on the same level. Even if I feel very strongly about those issues, I don’t get to make a citizen’s arrest against a legislator who bans weed.

                • > I don’t fear that they’d send out a sniper team to kill me for it, no.

                  Depending on the disposition of the local police in question, you really should. Policing in America has gone cloud-coocoo-land, with rampant militarization and judicial rubber-stamp sanction for heinous behaviors against the citizenry. They are a modern praetorian class and act like it in too many cases, all to protect their own precious skin while stamping with their boots.

                  It’s not all movie-plot behaviors; most of it is banality-of-evil stuff like no-knock raids, destroyed homes, dead dogs, and harassment for engaging in Constitutionally-protected activities.

                  • Yeah, it’s a total shit show. But the issue there is paranoid tacticool warriors who think that a random grow-op deserves the SWAT team and then screw up the address on the warrant. That’s a totally different category than Putin’s treatment of reporters he dislikes.

                    • > But the issue there is paranoid tacticool warriors

                      Who end up killing, sometimes outright murdering, people who have policy disagreements with the politicos who provide cover for the tyrannical cop behavior.

                      You’re splitting hairs and shifting goalposts. You’re talking like the people who enforce policy are separate from people who make it.

                      Frankly, your arguments are so confused I’m not sure you aren’t suffering from cognitive dissonance due to compartmentalization at a level resembling brain damage.

                    • You don’t see a difference between political assassination on one hand and a cop who gets freaked out and goes for his gun while enforcing silly laws on the other.

                      But I’m the one with brain damage. Right.

                      You know the really funny thing? I’m fairly right-leaning, fairly libertarian, generally pro-gun (despite living in an area that is very much anti-gun), and I go out of my way to defend people like you when lefties of my acquaintance go after you for being various flavours of evil. Reading this thread, I’m starting to wonder if that’s a mistake. I still think well of the right overall, but you guys might actually be as lunatic as they suggest.

                      I was probably this bad of an internet tough guy when I was 18, but it seems like most ESR readers are old enough to have kids that age. What’s your excuse? I mean seriously, I’ve seen less pigheaded revolutionary bravado from people who name their university student election slate “Team Che” and make a point of all drinking from the same can of pop to show that they’re comrades. It’s not like you’re actually going to do anything, after all.

                    • > But the issue there is paranoid tacticool warriors
                      > who think that a random grow-op deserves the SWAT team

                      You know about zero cops, right? And by “know” I mean guys you’ve eaten with or had a drink with.

                      The problem isn’t “tacticool cops”, it is, like many things, massively corrupt and incompetent leadership at the local level. The San Jose mayor ORDERED police officers NOT to protect Trump supporters from left wing violence. The same thing is purported to have happened in South Carolina–although there the allegations are that the police *deliberately* funnelled the “proud boys” into left wing thugs.

                      Because of my interest in martial arts and firearms I’ve known–in the sense of having dinner, drinks, or rolling around on the mats–about a dozen active cops, and I’ve got a former police officer as a close friend.

                      The problem is *never* the front line guys being out of control, it’s *always* their leadership not doing it’s job.

                      And frankly if you instructed me to take my team and hit a “grow house” I’d do it SWAT/SEAL style–hard and fast with LOTS of noise and LOTS of bruises. Most grow operations (prior to legalization) were well defended and often had a lot of illegal weapons. By getting in FAST and putting people on the floor and in cuffs as quickly as possible you prevent someone from getting froggy and you prevent having to shoot them.

                      Of course my people would be trained to the extent my superiors would allow, which is the problem today. The idiots running most of the cities in the US today have some idiotic notion that violence never solves anything, and that police officers are just social workers with badges.

                      I suspect you’re one of those people.

                    • >The same thing is purported to have happened in South Carolina–although there the allegations are that the police *deliberately* funnelled the “proud boys” into left wing thugs.

                      Confirmed. I know one of the organizers from the chat channel that organized the Lobby Day demo. I’ve heard a first-hand account of exactly that.

                    • @William O. B’Livion:

                      I suppose I was probably a bit too subtle about this, but I didn’t specify which level of the org chart the idiots were at.

                    • The San Jose mayor ORDERED police officers NOT to protect Trump supporters from left wing violence.

                      Then they obeyed the order. ¯\_(?)_/¯

                      They had something to say about this at Nuremberg, didn’t they?

            • > We do not live in a society where people are
              > murdered by the government over
              > policy disagreements.

              Vicky Weaver and a whole bunch of Branch Dividians could not be reached for comment.

              You might be able to ask Elian Gonsalez about it, if you flew to Cuba.

        • >The state election is in six months.

          Michiganders can’t afford to wait six months. Spending that much time under Whitmer’s restrictions would likely wreck the state’s economy past repair for a generation.

          • Go look up the economic crash that happened after WW1. It was about as deep as the Depression by some measures, but it was over within about a year. We remember the decade that contained it as “the roaring twenties”. Or the Volcker crash of 1980, which was an externally imposed crash largely unrelated to economic conditions (it was mostly to display credibility on the part of central banks, and thereby kill inflation), and which again happened with no substantial follow-up damage, and led to a solid decade of rapid growth as soon as it ended.

            I don’t expect substantial lingering damage here. The economy is still fine, it’s just hibernating. Once we turn the light switch back on, it’ll wake up. I’m not saying the impact will be zero – some restaurants won’t reopen, airlines will struggle for a few years, and so on – but it’ll be substantially smaller than 2008, despite the crash being deeper. There’s no substantial structural issues to work through in the recovery this time.

            Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes

            • Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes

              We are a century past “light and transient causes”.

              I’m going to copy what I said in another chat:

              Flashpoints are rarely about something worthy of the trouble they start.

              Tea taxes were a really fucking stupid reason to start a war and get people killed over. Except it wasn’t about tea was it? It was about years of abuses, attempts to gain redress only to be ignored and more abuse piled on, until eventually that damn tea was just too much.

              • Revolutions only make sense when it’s impossible to change the government through peaceful channels. Revolting against North Korea’s government would be a perfectly logical thing to do(if there was any chance of success, at least). But when you have a clear path to change the government, and it doesn’t need to involve mass killings, you should use those ones.

                And yes, this sometimes requires patience. But just ask what your reaction would be to a movie character whose attitude towards life was “Bored now, time to start murdering!”.

                • And the threat of revolution, that there are defined lines which if crossed will personally cost the politicians their lives, is an important part of that balance.

                  For the same reason that the knowledge that a little old lady might pull out a gun and kill her attackers reduces muggings.

                • The problem here is that there are some rights that no government, regardless of how large a majority it commands, may infringe and still retain its legitimacy. The Bill of Rights lists many, but by no means all, of them. Yes, that includes the Second Amendment.

                • I don’t think change is possible within the political process. Trump is a weird abberation — after he’s out, it’ll be back to the Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio type candidates in the GOP, and the democrats have proven they can’t sustain anything outside the establishment, and third parties will remain non-viable. The machine is a beast that must be fed and sustain itself.

                  Now I don’t personally want revolution for a lot of complicated reasons outside the scope of this discussion. But saying “just vote them out” is just going to replace “them” with near-clones. And if you subscribe to “a right delayed is a right denied” theory proposed by a darling of nearly everyone in American society today, then waiting for multi-generational change through dozens of iterations of “vote for someone slightly less bad” is not a useful option.

                  I frankly wish our elected politicians _were_ afraid of armed revolution. The democrats should frankly be more afraid, because they have two opposing sides that hate their guts: the hard-core socialists and the right.

                • > Revolutions only make sense when
                  > it’s impossible to change the
                  > government through peaceful
                  > channels.

                  When you have a news media *actively* lying and faking stories to support one side, and you have them starting to agitate for censorship it is starting to look like “peaceful” channels are getting clogged up.

                • (wrote a better version of this Friday, but it seems to have disappeared)
                  Wow, thirty million Americans are unemployed, and you mock some of the most desperate of them as “bored”? I consider myself extremely lucky to have a job like programming where it is at least possible to work from home, and even more fortunate to work for a company smart enough to have sent us all to work from home when all this started. I can’t imagine mocking anyone in less fortunate circumstances as “bored”.

                  Even CNN did a piece a couple days ago about places like Wyoming, South Dakota, etc; lots of tiny little towns with tiny population, tiny population density, negligible infection rate, trickle of tourism at the best of times.

                  Do we really need the same lockdown measures in every locale? Do the citizens of that locale have any say in the measures applied to them? These seem like important questions to me, both in the abstract (“prudence indeed” or “blood of the patriots”?) and practical (do we actually have the right to tell a particular farmer, or even a nightclub owner, that she has to lose her business For The Sake Of Society?). To sneer at people struggling with these questions as “bored mass murderers” is easy, and no doubt fun; I can’t speak for “everyone” of course, but I consider it puerile, to say nothing of unconvincing.

                  • I was recently re-watching Buffy season 6, so a certain character who says “Bored now!” and kills people may have been at the forefront of my mind.

                    Looking back at it, I should have phrased that one a bit better. Apologies.

                    As for adjusting lockdown measures to local conditions, I’m 100% in favour. Some of the things these protesters are saying I agree with on policy grounds. My opposition here is to the argument of “Shoot the legislature if they keep up these policies”, which is being made quite explicitly by many people here. (I don’t know if the armed protesters have said the same, but even if they haven’t, I’ll still push back on the arguments here.)

                    • And when you finally manage to squeeze a razor blade between the concepts of “remind the political elite that they really do serve at the will of the people” and “physically pull the trigger”, you may be a step closer to enlightenment.

                    • What razor blade? They get a reminder every four years, no guns needed. There’s a world of difference between the two, and the fact that you think they’re as close as you do is what worries me.

            • China of course fudges their numbers and didn’t really improve GDP by 20% year over year, but it’s undeniable that they grew extremely quickly. Why? Because they were just copying how the West does things.

              Similarly in this case all that needs to happen is the West to copy itself; it will recover extremely fast. A few lucky winners are perhaps going to learn the difference between “””structural unemployment””” and a pile of useful workers that don’t currently happen to have jobs.

          • Also, I feel the need to add one more thing. You have so little faith in the economy that you think a shutdown of some months could cripple the economy for a generation. And you’re a libertarian?! If you think that little of the private sector, I’d expect you to be a Sandersnista.

            • If the lockdowns end now the economy will recover quickly.

              After six months of forced idleness, we’ll have eaten the seed corn. And that’s not just a metaphor. Did you see the announcement for Tyson Foods’ CEO that the food distribution network was breaking down?

              We are at – maybe past – the point where “shelter in place” is doing more harm than the disease it’s meant to control ever could have.

              • I’ve seen stuff about the food supply chain being a mess, yes. But it’s nowhere near so bad as you imply. Do you actually think we’ll have a famine next year?

                • Farmers are dumping food now because their distributors can’t buy it.

                  Animal herds are just on the edge of mass slaughter because their distributors can’t buy it.

                  If we continue on the lockdown for another 6 months, yes, I believe there will be a famine.

                  • The amounts are large in an absolute sense, and tragic, but they’re small relative to the rather stupendous agricultural output of the US or the world.

                    How many sacks of rice and beans have you bought?

                • > But it’s nowhere near so bad as you imply. Do you actually think we’ll have a famine next year?

                  Maybe not now that Trump has declared meat packing essential, and ordered the plants to remain open. But yes, we were well on track for that.

                  What you apparently don’t understand is that if the supply chain empties out, you can’t just say “Okay, the meat packers are now open! Let’s have some meat!” That doesn’t magically make cattle of marketable size appear out of nowhere.

                  The gestation period for cattle is over 9 months, and it then takes roughly 18 months to raise the calf to marketable size (this varies depending on grain-fed v. grass-fed, and some other factors).

                  If the beef pipeline went dry, it would take more than two years before beef started coming out the other end. Minimum. And that’s assuming the cattle breeding and feeding operations were even still there, rather than having disappeared in bankruptcy.

                  That you suggest rice and beans is another indication of how fundamentally clueless you are. Beans are okay, but the United States does not and cannot possibly produce enough rice to feed the population. The climate is all wrong for that.

                  A more clueful person would suggest buying sacks of corn or wheat and a hand mill. Corn and wheat, we can grow.

                  • Meat packing was essential everywhere, as was all food production. Some individual plants shut down because their staff were all sick, but none were shut down by government order that I’m aware of. And I’ve read enough stories on this that I would have expected to hear of any mandatory shutdowns.

                    As for rice and beans, you misunderstand me. I wasn’t discussing what you’d buy in a year. I was asking how you’d stocked up right now. Rice and beans are extremely cheap staples, very easy to prepare, with very long shelf lives, and the combination gives most of the basic nutrition you need to survive. In a lot of places online, the phrase “rice and beans” is a byword for “the cheapest diet you can really survive on”. And both are still on the shelves, at least where I shop, so you can still be stockpiling. Sure, a lot of rice is imported, but the imports are still happening, so you can still buy rice.

                    But if you prefer, consider flour, potatoes, carrots, canned corn, or anything else. Whatever your “Oh man, I’m glad I’ve got a couple hundred pounds of that on my shelf!” food would be in a famine. If you don’t have literally hundreds of pounds of such foods stockpiled, your actions are failing to match your words. (Hell, I’ve got ~50 pounds of rice on a normal day, even without any special stockpiling.)

                    Why do you think that you should only stockpile things that the US grows locally? One would think you’d rather stock up on the things you wouldn’t be able to get, add some variety to the home-grown stuff.

                  • If the beef pipeline went dry, it would take more than two years before beef started coming out the other end. Minimum.

                    “Run dry.” Right, there’s no beef anywhere in the world and substitution isn’t a thing.

                    Not denying there would be a price shock, but this is rank ignorance about how resource allocation works.

          • “Michiganders can’t afford to wait six months. Spending that much time under Whitmer’s restrictions would likely wreck the state’s economy past repair for a generation.”

            That might be the case, but I think few people are actually doing the math to determine that, particularly because it’s difficult to know how to even begin a cost-benefit analysis with so many disparaging variables.

            A British team of economists has recently tackled that problem and developed a framework to do that kind of thing. It’s the first such attempt, and may well be faulty, but at least it’s a way to try to put actual numbers on this.

            The authors exemplify how it works with taking some data, making some assumptions where the data isn’t clear, and finding a tentative optimal date for reducing UK’s lockdown as June 1st. But that’s just an initial calculation that can be fine tuned with better data

            It’d be interesting to see this approach applied to the case of Michigan, if possible with even better granularity. Then one would have a more scientific answer to the whole situation — which well may be the government is right in keeping the restrictions for more time; or it could go the other way and it’s already past the time to open up things; or maybe even both, it varying with county — than going for discussions based on first principles.

            If you’d like to check it, here’s the paper:

            Clark A, De Neve J-E, Fancourt D, Hey N, Krekel C, Layard R, O’Donnell G (2020). “When to release the lockdown: A wellbeing framework for analysing costs and benefits.” CEP Occasional Papers, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.

            I’d like to know your take on it.

        • You keep writing “mass murder” when I think what you mean is “killing tyrants.” As with your previous complaint about “politically correct,” “murder” also has a concrete definition as distinct from “killing.”

          This seems intentionally dishonest, given your objection to “politically correct.”.

          • “Murder” is, most often, defined by laws. Such killings would be violations of those laws. Thus, they would be murder in a legal sense.

            I understand that you do not consider them to be murder in a moral sense. But I think you’re very obviously wrong there. I think it is clearly murder in a moral sense as well, not merely a legal sense.

            • But I think you’re very obviously wrong there.

              Yes, we know that’s your conclusion. But you don’t get to assume it as a premise, and that includes throwing around the word “murder” as an emotive attempt to define your opponents as wrong.

              • Would you feel any differently about my posts above if I’d used “mass slaughter of unarmed civilians” instead? I’m flexible here, as long as you’re not trying to weasel out of the obvious meaning of your arguments.

                • Actually that is better: the added precision makes it easier to address.

                  “Mass slaughter of unarmed civilians”

                  First of all “Mass Slaughter”….. no. If the boog should come the goal is to be very precise in who is killed: politicians who gave illegal orders, officers who carried them out. This isn’t even close to indiscriminate killing.

                  “Unarmed”: is a general unarmed because he isn’t personally carrying artillery into position?

                  “Civilians”: *They* certainly don’t think of themselves as “civilians”.

                  You could say the same sentence about a situation where a pack of feral “teenagers” jump someone on the street and get shot. And you would be exactly as wrong for the same reasons.

                  • In the context of a handful of attackers, dozens dead is “mass”. It’s fun to talk about civil wars, but you don’t go straight from grumpiness to Gettysburg overnight. Given that this would likely be the first shot(I used the Bleeding Kansas analogy elsewhere), it shouldn’t be looked at on the scale of a war.

                    Unarmed also refers to the fact that they don’t pose an imminent threat to life and limb, or even an indirect one. You can make an “indirect threat to liberty” argument (and clearly, you have), but I find that to be really tenuous. And yes, I agree that in some sense, the perpetrators of a gang-beating are “unarmed”. But when they’re trying to kill you, it’s not a meaningful sense of the term. When they’re trying to save you, it is.

                    As for “civilians”, well, they sure don’t think of themselves as military.

                    • Why do our police force typically refer to non-police as civilians then? That’s something I find very disturbing, and default to dis-trusting the police until an individual officer proves himself trustworthy.

                      And I’m quite lawful by nature. I *want* to trust police and authority. But a peace officer that refers to me as a civilian shows no good faith. Likewise, our elected servants typically act as if we are there for them, hence the distrust. At least with formal aristocracy, everything is transparent.

                    • In the context of a handful of attackers, dozens dead is “mass”.

                      This is a fair point. The so-called “Boston Massacre” killed what, five people?

            • “Murder” is, most often, defined by laws.

              So the Nazis didn’t “murder” any Jews by that definition.

              • This is why I made a point of discussing the moral as well as the legal. Laws aren’t everything. But for the difference between “killing” and “murder” they’re the usual go-to, so that’s where I started.

        • > The state election is in six months.

          Tell me… is the governor’s office up for grabs? Because the legislature isn’t the problem here.

          • Looks like the Governor is an off-year election, so she’s in until 2022. But a sufficient legislative majority can override her vetoes, or flat-out impeach her.

      • Everyone in this comment thread is taking the death threat as implicit, so I was simply taking that view seriously. If you don’t want me to take it seriously, you guys need to stop being serious about it.

        (Caveat: You, personally, have not done so that I’ve seen. But it wasn’t written as a response to you personally.)

          • Literally, no. In the sense that actually matters (i.e., making death threats), everyone in this comment thread seems to think they were.

            • Careful, man. You’re making stuff up in your head and then attributing it to other people, classic Cluster B style. Or you’re just lazy and don’t give a shit that the things you say have not more than a glancing resemblance to the truth.

              • Come off of it. Point me to any comment, anywhere in this thread, that discusses protesters bringing guns into the state house and doesn’t consider it to be a death threat. It’s everywhere, from ESR’s title on down. Do you honestly believe that anyone here is treating this as anything other than a death threat? Most treat it as a righteous death threat, I treat it as a ridiculous one, but let’s not pretend that it’s anything other than what it is.

                You yourself said upthread that basically every wartime elected official in American history should have been killed. Our host said explicitly in the OP that armed revolution is the correct response here, and that carrying guns without using them was a “final warning”. Can you give me any alternate interpretation here? Because I sure don’t see one.

                • >Do you honestly believe that anyone here is treating this as anything other than a death threat?

                  There is a moral difference of some significance between “we’re threatening to kill you right now” and “we’re threatening to kill you if you persist in your anti-Constitutional actions”.

                  The demonstrators were doing the latter. Don’t confuse it with the former.

                  • How much of that confusion of the moral difference is Gramscian damage? It seems to be part of a more general case: E.g. letting a holstered, concealed handgun carelessly become momentarily visible and pulling out that handgun and waving it around are both “brandishing.”

                  • So you’re saying, in so many words, that the intention is to kill them if they continue? I’ll let ktk know.

                    (Yes, I understand that you believe this is justifiable homicide. I even understand why you think that. I just think it’s morally wrong, and massively counterproductive besides.)

                    • The intention is to force them to follow the constitution they swore to uphold.

                      Just like the police exist to force you to follow the laws.

                      You, and the government, have a choice. Follow the rules or face the consequences.

                • > Point me to any comment, anywhere in this thread, that discusses protesters bringing guns into the state house and doesn’t consider it to be a death threat.

                  Since I cannot read minds, and comments are not thinking beings, this demand is idiotic. All of goddamn human society hinges on implicit death threats, we’re just polite enough not to bring it up any more than we absolutely must. You’re just hen-clucking about your assumed-lessers being uncouth.

                  > You yourself said upthread that basically every wartime elected official in American history should have been killed.

                  No, I did not, you lying sack of shit.

                  YOU posited an if-statement suggesting a certain logic. I agreed that the logic as you framed it is consistent, except that to be correct you must also append Congress to your formulation. The implication is that Congress would have been equally responsible.

                  I then posited a hypothetical (that’s what the word “maybe” means, jackass).

                  You decided in your own head that I was advocating murder, and then attributed your thought to me, like a goddamn loony.

                  • I am well aware that text comments are not sentient. “Treated as”, if you prefer.

                    As for what you said, if you thought of it as a hypothetical, that was very much not clear. Here’s the comment thread:

                    (third party)> Attempted drafting is easily in the category of crimes bad enough to be worthy of death if there is a death penalty.

                    (me)> Then just about every wartime President before the Bushes should have been shot.

                    (you)> Every President and Congress, to be clear. Maybe if that were a genuine consideration at all times, the politicos would be less inclined to tyranny.

                    Which part was hypothetical? The fact that there were drafts historically? The existence of a death penalty? I assume, from this comment, that you intended “Maybe if that were a genuine consideration…” as a hypothetical, but it sure sounded like advocacy.

                    If you picked unclear phrasing, fair enough, and I’ll accept any amendments or clarifications you want to make.

                    • Ah, yes, it’s my unclear phrasing, not your kneejerk assumptions. It’s all so clear now, Mr. “I’m too subtle.”

                    • Yes. I was too subtle on one point, which I apologized for. But I can still read a simple declarative English sentence.

                      I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you’re not just trying to weasel out of a losing argument. But if that’s the case, you screwed up your phrasing. That’s fine, but I’m not taking the blame for you. Certainly not after you went to great pains to call me a liar because I can read a simple English sentence.

                    • > But if that’s the case, you screwed up your phrasing. That’s fine, but I’m not taking the blame for you.

                      Your deliberate choice to read the word “maybe” as “should be”
                      and ascribe some kind of murderous mindset behind it is your malfunction, not mine.

                      > Certainly not after you went to great pains to call me a liar because I can read a simple English sentence.

                      I call you a liar because you invent thoughts and statements in your head and then dishonestly claim people here expressed those thoughts and statements. You are making up your own interpretations of people’s words and assuming your interpretations are a truth everyone shares, as though you are a mind reader and know what people are really saying.

                      That you keep doing it, even after being called out on it, suggests you are doing it knowingly and with intent. Therefore, I call you a liar.

                      To help you: my intent in calling you this is to send a hard interrupt to your brain, in the off chance that you really don’t realize what you’re doing, so you might reevaluate your behavior.

                      Yes, it’s rude, but dishonestly ascribing reprehensible things to others is more so. I’m just calling you a liar; you’ve been calling me a would-be murderer. So, yeah, fuck you.

                    • my intent in calling you this is to send a hard interrupt to your brain

                      Funny, it just looks like a sleazy way to avoid criticism to me.

                      But I’ll ask this straight: Do you think it would be justifiable to kill one or more elected officials over the Michigan coronavirus lockdowns, assuming they continue as-is? (Call it “revolution”, “defence against tyranny”, or whatever, if you prefer)

                    • > But I’ll ask this straight: Do you think it would be justifiable to kill one or more elected officials over the Michigan coronavirus lockdowns, assuming they continue as-is?

                      Last response to you, because you’re getting boring (and still haven’t addressed the fact that you keep dishonestly putting words in our mouths).

                      Assuming the draconian, heavy-handed power-grabbing continues, I think it could be justifiable to force an official from office. Death is the least preferable method.

                      The reason guns get involved because it is presumed that such an official is also so armed by way of law enforcement and security.

                      If a bunch of citizens showed up empty-handed and demanded immediate resignations, how effective could they be against armed resistance? So, guns come into play necessarily.

                      The assumed caveat is that the citizens taking this action understand that they may face severe, even lethal, penalties for this coercive action even if they are successful. Sometimes that risk is necessary.

                      You, however, assume that the only reason guns would be present is to mow someone down in cold blood. Which is why we keep bringing up the police example, because we are not talking about killing people, we are talking about an equivocal use of the threat of deadly force to ensure compliance, just like all law enforcement is built on.

                      But, nope, we’re just murderers who want people dead, according to you. You are such a snake.

                    • I never said it was about bloodlust – quit putting words in my mouth. I said that you were willing to kill over this, and that you shouldn’t be.

                      Basically, your comment boils down to “I’d rather not kill people over this, but I’m willing to if the alternative is getting a bad policy outcome on this question”. Thing is, almost everyone who kills people over policy disagreements would rather have a peaceful outcome. There’s the occasional true sadist or sociopath(Beria comes to mind), but most ideologues turned violent would rather win without the violence. Lenin seems like he’d have been just as happy without the gulags if he could get what he wanted without them. But he preferred gulags to a non-communist nation, so he implemented gulags to make communism happen, no matter what anyone else wanted.

                      I don’t being up Lenin as an example to say that the argument can only be made by someone as bad as Lenin. Your argument is not inherently bad – there are times that it’s a reasonable thing to say, as all the genocide examples in the thread indicate. But it is really goddamn dangerous. “I don’t care what anyone else thinks, I will win this fight, using every ounce of power at my disposal” has a godawful track record though history.

                      So yes, if the protesters tried asking for resignations peacefully, they might lose. Guess what – in a democracy, you lose sometimes. When you lose, you try again next time. You do not shoot the winners. Because at that point, you’re not fighting for democracy, you’re fighting for your own preferred brand of tyranny. That’s an attack on the Constitution, not a defense of it.

                      It’s not because you’re a cold-blooded murderer – I don;t think you get happy at the idea of killing per se. It’s because you’ve lost the plot. You don’t understand what democracy is or why we care about it, you only care about a particular policy outcome, and be damned to anyone who stops you. You will win, even if you have to kill all your opponents to do it.

                      Guess what? You won’t win, because the vast majority of the country can see something you can’t. If you try this, you damn well should lose. And they will fight you, and they will beat you, and your side will be worse off than you were before you started down this road to damnation.

                    • > I never said it was about bloodlust – quit putting words in my mouth. I said that you were willing to kill over this, and that you shouldn’t be.

                      You said murder, repeatedly, and doubled down on it when countered, you dishonest bastard. That you later changed it to mere “killing” does not change this fact.

                      I’m dropping this completely. I believe I have made a full accounting of myself.
                      Feel free to keep making yourself look like a deranged fool.

                    • Alsadius: “You don’t understand what democracy is or why we care about it”

                      Damned straight I care about it. But there are some things it is not legitimate for any democracy to do! Period. End of discussion.

                      Any democracy that takes such an action renders itself illegitimate thereby, and any action taken to reverse said infringement, or to overthrow the government that committed it is no in opposition to democracy, but in defense of it.

                    • @ktk: You can kill without it being about bloodlust. Still killing, though.

                      @Jay: Yes, like pandemic response.

                      The governor of American Samoa cut the island off from the outside world in 1918. I can’t see exactly how long it lasted, but it seems to have been about a year and a half. A year and a half with no commerce with the outside world, on the orders of one governor who wasn’t even elected by the people her ruled over. They were stuck on a flyspeck island(with no ability to import or export goods) by government order – surely that’s a greater imposition than Michigan’s going through. And this was under American law, no less.

                      Tell me – should someone have shot Governor Poyer for that? Because in history as it happened, they gave him a medal for saving a couple thousand lives.

    • > Waving your gun to make a political point is about as socially acceptable as waving your dick to make a political point.

      Open-carry protests are this century’s version of gay pride parades.

    • That’s it. The boog starts in Michigan.

      When we came up with a catchy name for killing our political enemies who won’t leave us alone, the left should have thought “oh shit they’re getting serious”, but as others mentioned they always double down.

      There will be shooting in Michigan before May ends….

    • The thing is, the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945 gives her that authority, and the later Emergency Management Act of 1976 explicitly says that “This act shall not be construed to […] Limit, modify, or abridge the authority of the governor to proclaim a state of emergency pursuant to Act No. 302 of the Public Acts of 1945, being sections 10.31 to 10.33 of the Michigan Compiled Laws, or exercise any other powers vested in him or her under the state constitution of 1963, statutes, or common law of this state independent of, or in conjunction with, this act.”

      So it would seem that she’s in the right and the legislature is in the wrong.

      • The thing is, the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945 gives her that authority, …

        Except that when an individual statute is found to conflict with higher law (like the state or national constitution), it is declared invalid. Yes, this takes an action by the court – the MI legislature is suing the governor right now to get such a ruling.

        So far, things are proceeding within normal processes. But the demonstrators pointed out what could happen if the normal processes break down….

  15. Pingback:

    Vote -1 Vote +1Armed demonstrators protest Michigan stay-at-home order

  16. Unfortunately, there’s no Schelling point for the boogaloo, and frog boiling has been working for the last 150 years.

    • Yeah, but this is different. This is one of the most blatant power grabs in all of history. The entire bill of rights has been rendered moot with the addition of an invisible “unless there is a pandemic” clause. Either we fight back or America is over. I am saddened to my core that leftists in America no longer have any concept of what America is. And it’s not like freedom loving Americans have anywhere else to go. We’re backed into a corner. The left lost their God damned minds when they lost the election in 2016. They are trying to burn the country down to “save” it. But if our America will be destroyed, what is there to lose in going to war? They’ve already told us that if they win we’re going to the gulags. There will be civil war, and it looks like it starts in Michigan.

      • Yeah, but this is different. This is one of the most blatant power grabs in all of history. The entire bill of rights has been rendered moot with the addition of an invisible “unless there is a pandemic” clause.

        Freer countries than the USA have clauses in their constitutions that allow the government to override individual rights in service of the public good.

        The Constitution is not a suicide pact. You don’t have the right to put someone else’s life at undue risk. If exercising your rights endangers other Americans — as gathering in groups does under COVID-19 — then you are no longer entitled to exercise those rights. Stay-at-home orders, and stiff penalties for violating them, are absolutely the right approach to take in order to control the spread of the virus and endanger as few lives as is feasible, absent extensive testing, contact-tracing, and quarantining measures (which, if you cared so much about “muh freedoms”, you would have advocated for in the beginning when it mattered).

        • “Freer countries than the USA have clauses in their constitutions that allow the government to override individual rights in service of the public good.”

          If their rights exist at the government’s whim, they’re not freer than we are.

          • Funny story – in Canada, the clause allowing rights to be overridden was explicitly added to check government power. The relevant provision was written in 1982, by which point the risk of activist judges was very clear. So they added the option for some rights(and specifically, nothing to do with elections) to be overridden, in a limited way, so as to stymie efforts to use judicial activism to derange government policy.

            Also, while the US Bill of Rights is extremely clear in its language, in practice the same restrictions exist in the US as everywhere else. Free speech doesn’t include publicizing my tax returns, or the location of carrier groups in wartime, or burning Blu-Rays of The Lion King.

            • Can you expand on this? I’m curious, but the way you explain it makes zero sense, and needs elucidation.

              They added the ability to nullify rights as a way to prevent rights from being trod upon? I don’t get it. Are you using two separate senses of “rights” without explaining them?

              • The notwithstanding clause in the Canadian constitution requires that the provincial legislature (it has never been used by the Canadian federal government) explicitly declare which parts of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms are being overridden, and how. All overrides of the Charter must also be temporary.

                It’s a useful tool because it actually allows the Canadian constitution to still be in force, even when the government takes emergency measures that override individual rights. In the USA when this is done, and the people accept it, it puts the legitimacy of the Constitution into question, because neither the government nor the people seem to have a problem with routine violations of the Constitution.

                In other words, if you don’t provide a way for the government to override personal rights when absolutely necessary, they’ll do it anyway and now you’re really screwed because now the government does not respect the rule of law applied to itself.

                • Interesting.

                  I get it, but it’s clearly coming from a political culture that presumes The Government as an entity is more important and has more rights than the citizenry it supposedly serves.

                  So, it’s no longer a bug, now it’s a feature! Feh.

                  • I think it would be more correct to say it’s from a culture where the government is “trusted”, in the sense of “trust but verify”.

                    We know it has great power, the army and police powers, but we expect it to act in our best interests, and treat it harshly when it doesn’t.

                    The classic example of the latter was the 1993 election, when the PCs went an absolute majority to only having two seats in parliament.

                    Historically, the governments of the day have tried hard, failed often, fixed stuff pretty often, and had to be spanked occasionally.

                    Considering we used to be ruled like peasants by (mad) King George III, it’s a really unexpected outcome.

              • Basically, the concern was things like Roe v Wade, where judges invent “rights” whole cloth, and in so doing they infringe upon other rights. (At minimum, there’s the right to decide political questions through the political process, but often more.)

                By creating an escape valve where elected officials can override judges, it creates a check on judicial authority, and prevents them from running away with things too badly. However, the “notwithstanding clause” is itself limited in several ways (only applying to some issues, mandatory sunset provisions on all laws affected by it, etc.). It’s a more Canadian-style approach to balancing powers, more or less.

                We also have a far more left-leaning judiciary than the US, with no Federalist Society equivalent, so this is more of a concern.

                (But yeah, this is an odd duck of a provision, and it took me a very long time to wrap my head around it.)

              • Check out Section 1 and Section 33 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of the Canadian Constitution.

                If you have any legal background, it will absolutely terrify you.

        • The Constitution is not a suicide pact.

          The Constitution is literally our social contract. You don’t get to violate a contract just because it is inconvenient.

          Especially when that contract is the only source of legitimacy the government has. Violating it means they lose that.

          • But, in many cases, you do get to violate a contract when extenuating circumstances make the cost of being bound to it too great. This tends less to be the case in the USA, where the Supreme Court tends to hold that a contract is a contract is a contract, and a situation where your only choices are to submit to a binding arbitration agreement with your cellphone provider or not get cellphone service at all is totally legal. But it does happen sometimes, even here. For example, in many states if you sign a lease, and the property you’re renting is in or falls into unlivable condition and the landlord refuses to make repairs, you are entitled to break the lease without paying the landlord.

            COVID is a little more than “inconvenience”. It’s like nothing we have dealt with in a hundred years. We have tools to mitigate the illness and death it spreads — one of the most effective, yet low-tech, being new temporary social norms backed up with consequences for noncompliance. We should use the tools we have instead of hoping for, say, a miracle cure based on bogus, debunked chloroquine research.

            Oh, and — the government gets its legitimacy from the people. Most Americans support temporary sacrifice of some civil liberties to help flatten the curve.

            • >We should use the tools we have

              Oddly enough, we haven’t really used the one proven tool we have – true quarantine of the sick or possibly sick. Instead, we’re ‘kinda, sorta, but not really’ quarantining everyone.

              Concretely, we should have prevented anyone from leaving certain neighborhoods in NYC early on. And certainly have prevented outbound flights from the NYC airports.

              The other 320 million residents would then have the ability to provide succor to the 10-20 million quarantined residents.

              • The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons needs to scope Troutwaxer’s post on the topic.

                Notice how Eric fell silent and quietly dropped the chloroquine topic. Everybody gangsta around here till someone rolls in with facts.

                • >Notice how Eric fell silent and quietly dropped the chloroquine topic.

                  Um, you mean because I noticed that its effectiveness is now quite well demonstrated and I no longer feel a need to argue the point? Yes, that’s correct.

                  Oh, and speaking of falling silent: How’s that peak-oil collapse coming along, Jeff?

                  • We’re well past the peak in terms of conventional oil sources.

                    We’ve bought ourselves a reprieve in the form of tar sands and fracking, but it’s only a reprieve — and it’s a costly one. The fracking chickens haven’t come home to roost yet, at least in terms of public awareness of the human and environmental harm caused by the procedure, but that’s in part due to the efforts of Brave Men And Women with experience in military psychological warfare, being hired by oil companies to wage such warfare against Americans who are opposed to fracking. Nevertheless, Vermont and New York have banned fracking, with more states doubtless to follow. And whither the bounty of oil then?

                    • We’re past the peak in terms of old sources, but have increased production with new sources, yes. That was always the argument against peak oil theory – technological innovation will give us new sources that can keep producing. So the fact that it’s happened proves those of us who were making that argument 15-20 years ago right, and the ones who were saying the peak was inevitable wrong.

                      It’s probably a bit worse for the environment than “stick a pipe in the ground and get free oil”, sure. But it’s not nearly so bad as the greens seem to think.

                      Also, fracking typically produces a lot of gas, not just oil. And the massive supply of gas has helped move America off coal, which has made it the only major nation whose carbon emissions have gone down in recent years. Fracking is actually a great boon for the environment, because of its downstream economic effects.

                  • Did you bring the treatment up with your doctor when you tried to get tested for the virus? If so, what did s/he say?

                    • >Did you bring the treatment up with your doctor when you tried to get tested for the virus?

                      I did not, because my guess is that I had it in January and recovered.

                      If I thought I had it now I’d want HCQ/azithromycin immediately. I’m already taking zinc.

                    • Definitely agree with you on the subject of zinc, as well as Vitamin D-3. (I planted a garden this year, considering possible interruptions to the food supply, and so am getting plenty of sun!)

                • > Notice how Eric fell silent and quietly dropped the chloroquine topic.

                  Have you considered the possibility that Big Pharma has a vested interest in discrediting a cheap, out-of-patent drug so they can sell an expensive brand-new patented solution at monopoly prices?

                  • That’s assuming a lot more conspiracy than is warranted under the circumstances. The media and sections of the political establishment have an interest in scoring points against Orange Man, so there’s a concerted argumentum ad Trumpum against anything he speaks of with approval.

                    • I know. I was specifically trying to convince Jeff to reconsider HCQ from a “why are you supporting the big evil corporations?” perspective. Not that I believe big corps are necessarily evil, but I doubt that pointing out reflexive hatred of Trump will convince him.

              • From the Washington Post: Hydroxychloroquine is now linked with an increased risk of death — based on a high-sample-size, worldwide study of hospitalized COVID patients.

                Trump’s promotion of HCQ, in an absence of clinical evidence that it does any good (and surplus of clinical evidence to the contrary), is dangerous to Americans.

                His second impeachment should be interesting…

                • 1) The study is a retrospective analysis, so it’s hard to draw conclusions. It’s very likely the patients who received hydroxychloroquine were the sicker patients. Numerous doctors have reported that taking it early makes a big difference.

                  2) There is no mention of zinc in the paper. Numerous doctors say zinc is critical.

                  3) The study itself warns against the media’s conclusions:

                  Our study has several limitations. The association of decreased survival with hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine treatment regimens should be interpreted cautiously. Due to the observational study design, we cannot exclude the possibility of unmeasured confounding factors, although we have reassuringly noted consistency between the primary analysis and the propensity score matched analyses. Nevertheless, a cause-and-effect relationship between drug therapy and survival should not be inferred. These data do not apply to the use of any treatment regimen used in the ambulatory, out-of-hospital setting. Randomised clinical trials will be required before any conclusion can be reached regarding benefit or harm of these agents in COVID-19 patients.

            • Or we can simply accept that it’s at most only marginally more fatal than the seasonal flu, accept that people – and not a lot of them, compared to the numbers from seasonal flu every year – will get sick and die, and get the herd immunity that is the only thing that will stop this pandemic.

              The people have been scared to death by the leftist MSM’s continual trumpeting of horror stories and numbers inflated by “science” modeling that has no more connection to reality than other models used recently to try to drive public policy. Of course they want to sacrifice liberties. They can make that sacrifice for themselves, but they cannot make it for me.

              • They can make that sacrifice for themselves, but they cannot make it for me.

                Contrariwise, it’s clear you don’t mind sacrificing lives to get the economy started again. But you have no right to make that sacrifice on others’ behalf. So stay at home when possible and follow your state and local authorities’ rules for outbreak containment, social distancing, and PPE — and quit bitching “but muh freedoms”. Your freedoms end where exercising them endangers others.

                • Do you understand that, by your standards, banning everything would be justified?

                  Seriously, man, you have to stop watching the likes of CNN, MSNBC, and CBS News; and reading Jeff Bezos’ blog (The Washington Post) and Carlos Slim’s blog (The New York Times).

                  And by the way, you’ve made it clear that you don’t mind sacrificing lives to famine to stop pestilence. So stop trying to destroy the food supply chain and let people get back to work!

                  • “And by the way, you’ve made it clear that you don’t mind sacrificing lives to famine to stop pestilence. ”

                    That is another problem with Libertarianism: Famines in the USA are NOT caused by lack of food, but by a lack of willingness to feed the poor.

                    There is enough food in the USA to feed every American several times over. But there is simply no motivation to do feed the poor adequately.

                    • >Famines in the USA are NOT caused by lack of food, but by a lack of willingness to feed the poor.

                      The U.S. does not have famines. Ever. Even by the loosest possible definition we’ve only ever had one, and that was in the 19th century on an offshore Alaskan island inhabited by Aleuts not connected to the domestic trade network in staple foods.

                      That said, famine is a political choice everywhere, and that has been true for many decades. Probably since the mid-19th century, though I’d need to do research I haven’t to be sure.

                      >But there is simply no motivation to do feed the poor adequately.

                      There are zero actually poor people in the U.S. An important way we know this is that our supposed “poor” are overweight. They don’t have a problem with not enough food, they can and do eat too much because food is so cheap. Also they normally own things like cars and refrigerators and computers and air conditioners.

                      (Well, if they’re not “homeless”. Which is to say mentally ill people who are on the streets because we made an unwise decision to shut down almost all of our insane asylums back in the late 1960s.)

                      By many measures of purchasing power, including square feet of living space and rates of automobile ownership, the American “poor” average a higher living standard than middle-class Europeans.

                    • I’ve got to agree with Eric on this one – the chances of a famine are low. I would extend what he wrote to say, “regardless of whether we social distance or not,” because I don’t think any governor is going to declare farm-work non-essential!

                      I will also note that I’m planting a REALLY BIG GARDEN this year, just in case. In the best-case scenario, my friends and family will all receive gifts of fresh vegetables. In the worst-case scenario I’ll have something to eat in case of a low-probability event such as the virus mutating or someone at some level of government making an unexpected bad decision.

                  • Do you understand that, by your standards, banning everything would be justified?

                    Please stop being an idiot. You’ve take reductio ad absurdum to a new level of stupidity. Next you’ll start whining about Stalin!

              • “Of course they want to sacrifice liberties. They can make that sacrifice for themselves, but they cannot make it for me.”

                That is the basic tenet of Libertarianism. And that is why Libertarianism has no answer to the real threats of life like pandemics. When the freedom of the one kills the other, Libertarianism breaks down.

                Infectious diseases kill people. You refusing to take action against spreading the disease will kill other people. This is demanding your freedom to do what you want even if it kills other people. And it is not you who decides how much risk other people should take.

                Your talk about the severity of COVID-19 is not based on any facts. And random web sites, twitter and facebook message are not facts.

                • > You refusing to take action against spreading the disease will kill other people.

                  This is an incorrect characterization. It’s not refusing to take action, it’s not blindly following the orders of others.

                  But then, good commies like yourself have a default state of following any order so long as it comes from The People’s Sanctioned Authority, so the confusion is understandable.

                • > Libertarianism has no answer to the real threats of life like pandemics. When the freedom of the one kills the other, Libertarianism breaks down.

                  Bullshit. I already said this back when Jeff Read posted a similar “no Libertarians in a pandemic” bullshit comment, so I apologize to the folks who have seen this story already. The company I work for had an emergency IT meeting on March 12, fully a _week and a half_ before the governor of Illinois issued his shelter-in-place order. We’re not a “software” company, development is all in-house, but the meeting was to announce that we had to days to set up all the other non-IT employees to work from home (as would we be). As of Monday Mar. 16 over half the company was at home, by Wed. Mar 18 it was 100% (minus a skeleton crew of basically the one “real” IT guy who handles hardware and networking as opposed to software developers like me).

                  Since then I have worked from home, not because of some appointed overlord telling me to do that, but because yes i _get_ that it is safer for me and my family, and _because I am lucky enough to be able to do that_.

                  Farmers can’t work from home. Most small business owners can’t work from home. I am grateful that I can work from home and reduce by however small amount the risk of others getting infected, but it is _not_ my place to tell others to risk or lose their business when they don’t have that luxury.

                  • @darrin
                    “Since then I have worked from home, not because of some appointed overlord telling me to do that, but because yes i _get_ that it is safer for me and my family, and _because I am lucky enough to be able to do that_.”

                    This is not about YOU being prudent. This is about EVERY person being prudent.

                    In an epidemic ONE infected person can infect and kill a very large number of people. That is where “Live Free or Die” breaks down. Society has to have the powers to prevent such people from risking the lives of others.

                    Look up Typhoid Mary
                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Mallon

                    The Typhoid Mary case is also instructing. If society wants someone to go in quarantine, they also should pay for the damage. That was not always done.

                    That is where the USA does not shine at all.

                    • In an economic crisis, ONE uninfected farmer can still be put out of business if the same lockdown measures are imposed on NYC and rural farmland. That is where “Live as the collective demands” breaks down.

                      This is not about YOU assuming that what you feel is prudent for others is aximoatically correct. This is about EVERY person making judgments about what they consider prudent for their own particular situation.

                      Same question to you that Alsadius brushed off and that Jeff Read has ignored three times: do you have similar “tsk-tsk”ing to direct at the beachgoers in Los Angeles, the crowds thronging Central Park in New York City, or the house parties in Chicago? Why is your ire only directed at people (VERY far from densely populated areas) trying to continue working to support their homes and families?

                    • In an economic crisis, ONE uninfected farmer can still be put out of business if the same lockdown measures are imposed on NYC and rural farmland.

                      That’s why we declare some kinds of business “essential.” We definitely want the farmers to keep working. We also want them to wear a mask and practice social distancing when they go to town! Making this distinction isn’t hard.

                      And yes, I do see “…similar “tsk-tsk”ing” directed at beachgoers, etc.

                      The problem here is the reflexiveness of the tit-for-tat behavior by the right, and the automatic assumption that someone who dislikes Trump’s response to COVID-19 is trying to hurt you. We’re not trying to hurt you. We’re trying to get you to learn enough to save yourselves by not engaging in obviously risky behavior! This isn’t “we want to dominate you.” This is more like, “Please practice safe sex when you start seeing a new person.” It’s not political, it’s just basic, fucking common sense!

                    • > This is about EVERY person being prudent.

                      > In an epidemic ONE infected person can infect and kill a very large number of people. That is where “Live Free or Die” breaks down. Society has to have the powers to prevent such people from risking the lives of others.

                      Since you like links so much:
                      https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-52135814

                      From that article:
                      “People have been advised to stay at home… Prime Minister Mark Rutte described the Netherlands as a “grown-up country”. “What I hear around me, is that people are glad that they are treated as adults, not as children,” he said on Friday.”

                      Advised, not ordered. So all these “failures of Libertarianism” (as if we had anything approaching Libertariansim in the US anyway) screeds should be taken with a “do as I say, not as I do” grain of salt.

              • …at most only marginally more fatal than the seasonal flu…

                Thanks for playing, Jay, but the worst seasonal flu in recent memory was the H1N1 in 2009, which killed a grand-total of 12,469 people in the course of a year.

                COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. will go over 100,000 in the first 90 days. Assuming that holds for a year we’ll see around 400,000 deaths, which makes COVID-19 roughly 32 times more fatal than H1N1. I don’t know where you’re getting your information, but you should start getting it someplace else.

            • in many cases, you do get to violate a contract when extenuating circumstances make the cost of being bound to it too great.

              Write break clauses into your fscking contract, then, don’t go waving your incompetent drafting around as an excuse to treat your obligations as optional. Because pacta sunt bloody servanda, dammit, and every time we let some scrub wriggle out of one, we weaken the fundamental basis of co-operation.

              (Of course, there are other problems with the Constitution-as-contract, but they’re more along the lines of ‘the citizen has not signed it’ or ‘in most cases any consent the citizen has given was under blatant duress’; unfortunately for your position that doesn’t exactly get the State out of its obligations.)

            • and in such a case, the contract becomes null and void.

              Since the only authority the US Govt has is from the “Contract” with the States via the Constitution…

        • > The Constitution is not a suicide pact.

          Oh, I agree. That’s why I’m disobeying government orders to stay at home, not engage in economic activity, and cause a famine thereby.

        • You don’t have the right to put someone else’s life at undue risk.

          No, you don’t have the right to *actually harm* someone else without just cause. No harm, no foul. Even under the law of negligence, where you can be sued because your act or omission harmed someone even though you didn’t intend that, there needs to be actual harm or there is no legal cause of action.

          The expansion of “no actual harm” into “no activities that some government bureaucrat or media talking head thinks pose an ‘undue risk'” is one of the key aspects of the tyranny that so many commenters in this thread are talking about.

          • No, you don’t have the right to *actually harm* someone else without just cause. No harm, no foul.

            Yeah except no, that’s not how the law actually works. Let me introduce you to the crime of reckless endangerment. If you act in such a way as to create a substantial risk of injury to another person, you can be criminally liable for such an act, even if no one was actually harmed as a result. These laws have been on the books for decades at least and are not part of some sinister boiling-frog strategy. They’re there to protect people, and to incentivize being careful and responsible in circumstances where people might come to harm.

            Reckless endangerment seems an appropriate charge to levy against people who knowingly and willfully violate stay-at-home orders.

            • Let me introduce you to the crime of reckless endangerment.

              Let me introduce you to the concept of reading comprehension. Try re-reading the second paragraph of my post and applying it to “reckless endangerment”.

              Yes, the law sometimes makes things crimes that shouldn’t be crimes. Sorry if that’s news to you.

        • You LOVE tyranny don’t you?

          The Constitution is not a suicide pact.

          No, it isn’t. But “public safety” and “it’s for your own good” are not the root passwords to do whatever you want.

          You don’t have the right to put someone else’s life at undue risk.

          If exercising your rights endangers other Americans — as gathering in groups does under COVID-19 — then you are no longer entitled to exercise those rights

          You’re never been particularly clear on what a right is.

          Your fear level doesn’t get to determine what my rights are.

          Stay-at-home orders, and stiff penalties for violating them, are absolutely the right approach to take in order to control the spread of the virus and endanger as few lives as is feasible,

          We lose an average of 88 THOUSAND people ever year from alcohol in one fashion or another. CLEARLY we need an executive order banning the sale of Alcohol in this country REGARDLESS of the constitution.

          It’s very difficult to determine exactly how many deaths occur every year from Sexually Transmitted diseases, but given the end results of HIV, HPV (not all variants are covered by the vaccine), Herpes (increases the risk of cervical cancer, mostly by increasing the chances of HPV risk), Tertiary Syphilis, etc., it’s CLEAR that we need to enact laws–by fiat if the legislature won’t see the clear need–that require AT LEAST a three month interval AND a comprehensive STD panel between sexual partners, and to make sure this is complied with you will be required by law to register your partners with the county disease control board.

          Because the environment is SO important and EVERYTHING you do impacts it, we need to reduce not only people’s carbon footprints, but their water footprint and their overall consumption footprint. We have determined that no one needs more than 50 square feet of living space, three pairs of shoes and 4 changes of clothes….

  17. The thing about Michigan vs. New York is that while Gretchen Whitmer is just as stupid and incompetent as Cuomo or de Blasio, she’s also incredibly obnoxious. I think this may prove decisive.

  18. Really….the armed peaceful protesters “stormed” the Michigan capitol? Words mean things, and that word has specific connotations and paints a picture of battering rams, catipaults, and trebuchets smashing doors and walls for access. To my knowledge, none of that happened. No one was tied up and hauled away for summary execution, either. Scary people showed up carrying scary guns and shouted things.

    But don’t tell the media that, because the mental image I descibed is EXACTLY what the alphabet media wants the uninformed idiot to have.

  19. I get the sense that most of the people here think a certain thing when they think “death threat”, that is very different from what the average traditional media consumer thinks. In this forum’s crowd, it’s normally carrying around a large bundle of conditions and rules of engagement, understood over years of exposure and reinforcement. One could start to understand it as “we’re prepared to kill, but we’d also prefer it not come to that”.

    A lot of this threat is also employed as deterrent. Talk about it, in order to make it less likely.

    Sometimes talking about it doesn’t apply to the venue. One has to show, not tell. So, people carry. Having a gun says “we’re prepared to kill”. Keeping it holstered says “we’d prefer it not come to that”.

    Anything said or shown has the risk of being misinterpreted, especially by professional reporters, let alone their audiences. How does one say or show the things above, such that a reporter will interpret it as intended? How does one show they’re not willing to take this lying down, without being regarded as having an itchy trigger finger? Unfortunately, traditional media seems to have provided no radio button for this. You either protest, and can be ignored, or protest while armed, and must be arrested, and then ignored.

    Alsadius, as an especially vocal poster on this, I hope you’re factoring this all in when you analyze the problem.

  20. Anybody looked at the models listed here: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/04/22/upshot/coronavirus-models.html?searchResultPosition=4
    -Have to follow links from the article to actual models as the NYT doesn’t know what it’s talking about but I repeat myself.-
    or anyplace else and found anything that impressed or interested them? My first impression is the science is very much pre-model. The models are useful as a clear way to see factors and weights from the particular institution – that is maybe as hypothesis but none of them validates by theory or prediction to my limited eye. Bad or lacking data makes it hard to reject one too. Maybe looking for conditions under which a given model would be useful is a useful way to spend enforced time indoors.

  21. Pingback:

    Vote -1 Vote +1Sounds like violent threat http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=8685 | Dr. Roy Schestowitz (??)

    • Since the Democratic base includes a lot of blue-collar workers she’s put out of their jobs, prevented from buying garden seeds and child car seats, and forbidden from doing many low-risk outdoor activities, I don’t think they are necessarily fired up in the way you think.

      • Since the Democratic base includes a lot of blue-collar workers

        Does it still? They have been saying “f- you” to blue-collars for decades. I suspect the only blue-collar workers still voting for them are the old set in their ways type who vote D because “my father and grand-father always voted D”, and don’t pay enough attention to notice that the Democrats have abandoned every principal that caused his father and grand-father to support them.

    • No, she failed it as utterly and spectacularly as anyone I’ve ever seen in the political arena in quite a while who wasn’t outright caught in a sex crime.

      Prior to these protests, she was getting floated as being on the short list for the VP position, which as we all know even if half the country is too thoughtcrime-controlled to say, is very likely going to be President if elected under Biden, because he’ll be lucky to make it to inauguration, let alone serve his term. Call it high-singled-digit percentage chances of becoming the President.

      Indeed, Michigan is a big swing state; smallest percentage margin of going for Trump in the last Presidential election. The problem is, Gretchen badly misread why she was on the shortlist. She was on the shortlist because she might be able to collect enough votes in Michigan to swing it Democrat next election. The way she would do this is by competently handling this issue and impressing all the Republicans in the state enough to at the very least not vote against the Biden/Whitmer ticket. It wouldn’t take much.

      Instead, she read it as a chance to, exactly as you say, “fire up the D base” and try to impress the Democratic party elite by being the Democratiest-Democrat she could possibly be. Instead of impressing and pacifying the Republicans in her state, she is aggressively and directly antagonizing them and creating a huge constituency that would crawl over broken glass to vote against her in the election, to say nothing of the fact there’s already people willing to crawl over broken glass to re-elect Trump.

      She failed at the most basic political level and trashed her chances at the Presidency as comprehensively as anyone I’ve seen in a while.

      She’s a prime example of a Democrat politician who is where she is because she grew up imbibing the Democratic Kool-Aid, and believes the shows for the rubes are the essence of the platform.

      • >No, she failed it as utterly and spectacularly as anyone I’ve ever seen in the political arena in quite a while who wasn’t outright caught in a sex crime.

        While this is true, a lot of Democratic candidate-aspirants this cycle have been disaster areas so comprehensive that Whitmer fails to look particularly bad by comparison to them. I give you Beto “skateboard” O’Rourke, for example. Or Kamala “kneepads” Harris. Or Elizabeth “Lieawatha” Warren.

        Accordingly, I think it would be unwise to write off Whitmer’s chances just yet.

  22. Is that it? Start A war for pandemic handling measures? You must be out of your mind. in this war if you shoot first you will lose. Maybe the Chinese are looking to weaken the world economy and buy it all cheap, but hey it was America which participated in destroying Germany, you collaborated with Commies all this time until now. You are kind of eating what you cooked. Another war, the last war before the commies world domination and you will start it over this lame thing? Americans have no faith and cant tolerate hardship.

    • I think many Americans are willing to tolerate hardship when it makes sense. But saying (e.g.) “You can’t buy garden seeds at the store because there’s a pandemic” does not make sense.

    • It actually makes a certain amount of sense. The reason right-wing protests tend to fail in recent decades is that right-wingers tend to have jobs that they can’t abandon without suffering economic hardship. Now with the lockdown, they no longer do and thus have nothing left to loose by protesting.

      • It’s a funny joke that “We don’t protest because we have jobs”, but most protests are on the weekend, and the right has put together some pretty big ones. We just care a lot less about street protest in general, and spend a lot less effort on doing it well.

  23. /me continues to envy the hell out of the US for having the rkba. Over here it was waaay outside the Overton window by 1998, and I don’t even know where to begin trying to change that.

    I hope all you Yanks realise just how dang lucky you are.

      • “Here” is the UK. Where, in addition to a lockdown, we now have a Two Minutes’ Love once a week where everyone stands in their doorway and claps the socialist health service (some people distinguish between “clap for carers” and “clap for the NHS”, but many don’t). Which really creeps me out, because that kind of performative fervour can go some dangerous places.

        • The best thing you can do, and it’s the longest game, is to get involved however possible in the shooting sports, an then get as many other people involved.

          The more firearm ownership and legal/sporting use are normalized the easier it is to pressure politicians to “relax” the laws a bit.

  24. I’m not very happy about this.

    A mob threatening government officials with violence may represent the popular will. It may also represent an aggressive organized minority imposing its will.

    Only a few years ago in Wisconsn, mobs of “demonstrators” invaded the state capitol building, trying to intimidate the state legislature. The mobs were almost entirely government employees associated with labor unions.

    Further back in history… The Reconstruction Era state governments in the South were overthrown by a combination of mob violence against state and local officials and elections rigged by force. Not an admirable precedent.

    • A mob may represent an aggressive organised minority imposing its will. The government definitely represents an aggressive organised minority imposing its will (while concealing this with the charade known as “representative democracy”).

      I can understand not being happy about the existence of aggressive organised minorities and their ability to impose their will. But c’mon, even if it’s just that the current tyrants-incumbent are facing some competition, that’s still grounds for a little bit of optimism, no?

    • Thing is, right now the hard right does not have the hardened shooters and supporters to pull off anything like the Reconstruction/Segregation change over.

      That changeover happened because a) locally greater numbers of Confederate veterans (for the violence) and people upset about the outcomes of the ACW (The Tyrant Lincoln Monster Sherman narrative believers) b) The Republicans knew that they could not continue to rule the South or the country that way, and maybe even felt guilty for having done so. Keep in mind that it was not much later when the Mugwumps put in the civil service system, because they did not like the spoils system. And Posse Comitatus probably would not have passed and been retained if Republicans didn’t feel that maybe they have misused power abusively during Reconstruction, and ought to plug the loophole.

      We have veterans, but probably not at the per capita rate of ACW veterans, feeling as hard done by as some of them felt. Politically, the right is split into a bunch of factions, at this point only really held together by disgust with how insane the anti-Trump left has gotten. (Okay, yes, Never Trump is technically right, and isn’t really trying to win this presidential election. Even Never Trump has split into the displaced grifters, and the folks who aren’t scared enough to back Trump, but are still disgusted by things like the standard of evidence presented accusing Kavanaugh.) We would probably need further radicalizing events to wind up in that degree of trouble.

      I think a lot of people here are not considering the implications of what would have been needed to stage manage the political side of things. Legislatures are normally fairly dysfunctional, but would be more so if not for a lot of work done behind the scenes. If you need to pass something fast, you try to arrange the votes beforehand. Rather than throw something out, and see what people think. Surprised people are unpredictable. I would guess that someone already knew how the vote would go and that the protest was encouraged as part of the showmanship for the actual event of the vote. To some extent I see this as a message by the Legislature, possibly to the state bureaucrats. Probably not a great precedent, but I think we may be setting a bunch of unhappy precedents right now.

      • > Thing is, right now the hard right does not have the hardened
        > shooters and supporters to pull off anything like the
        > Reconstruction/Segregation change over.

        You are aware of the GWOT that has been waging for almost 19 years now, right?

        That has run a bunch of US military folks–who lean pretty conservative/pro-freedom/anti-communist–through exactly the kind of fighting one does in an insurgency, right?

        There’s a *ton* of battle hardened shooters out there. They won’t get involved initially because they’ve buried some friends, had others blow their brains out, and have a few missing large parts of their bodies.

        Guys like this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Crenshaw

        He probably won’t be shooting since he’s missing one eye and can’t see too good out the other one.

        • If I find myself in a place where Congressman Crenshaw is leading a fight, I’ll follow him through hell. He’s earned it.

          • >If I find myself in a place where Congressman Crenshaw is leading a fight, I’ll follow him through hell. He’s earned it.

            Not eligible for the Presidency, alas. American citizen, but born in Scotland.

            • My understanding is it doesn’t matter where you were born, if you were born a citizen, that’s all that matters. And all it takes is one American parent to be citizens, and he had two.

              • >My understanding is it doesn’t matter where you were born, if you were born a citizen, that’s all that matters. And all it takes is one American parent to be citizens, and he had two.

                There’s a live dispute about this. It depends on the intent of the phrase “natural-born”. Most Constitutional scholars think it means a President must have been born in the U.S. And it has affected some political careers.

                Jennifer Granholm, a Democratic governor in Michigan, was at one point touted as presidential timber, but that was quietly scuppered because she was born in Canada.

                There was a very minor flap about John McCain having been born in the Panama Canal Zone, but as that was a U.S. overseas possession at the time nobody seriously thought a court would rule him ineligible.

                Barack Obama was represented as having been born in Kenya in the publicity for one of his biographies. Whether or not that was true, it set off quite a shitstorm about his later eligibility for the Presidency.

                • As Wikipedia notes, it’s probably never going to be settled in court: aside from the issue of standing, there’s also the issue of whether this is a non-justiciable political question.

                • > There’s a live dispute about this. It depends on the intent of the phrase “natural-born”.

                  Not really.

                  If you’re a Progressive having one American family member SOMEWHERE in the family tree qualifies you.

                  If you’re not being born in an American hospital in an American state *barely* qualifies.

                • “Most Constitutional scholars think it means a President must have been born in the U.S.”

                  I’ve read several scientific papers on the subject. While this has never been ruled on in court, most experts agree that “natural-born” means “being entitled to it by birth”. So a child born to Americans abroad is a natural-born citizen (e.g. Ted Cruz), whereas someone who has to go through naturalization is not (e.g. Arnold Schwarzenegger).

                • No, most Constitution scholars do not believe that birth in the United States is the requirement.

                  That question was asked and answered in the negative back in the 1800s, with regards to General George Meade, the victor of Gettysburg. Like many other successful (and one not-very-successful) generals, he was touted as a Presidential candidate.

                  After Pickett’s Charge was definitely repulsed, a regimental band saluted General Meade with “Hail to the Chief”, and a wag on his staff said “Ah there, General Meade – you’re in grave danger of becoming President of the United States.”

                  Meade was born in Spain, where his father was in business, and also US Naval agent. The elder Meade was a merchant from Philadelphia; Meade’s mother was from New Jersey. George came to the US with his parents at the age of 3. However, no one ever questioned his status as a “native born” citizen.

                  • >No, most Constitution scholars do not believe that birth in the United States is the requirement.

                    *blink* Then why wasn’t I hearing that during the various recent flaps around Granholm/McCain/Obama?

                    I’m not being obstreperous, I just find your claim difficult to square with objections that serious people have raised in the recent past.

                    • I’m not being obstreperous, I just find your claim difficult to square with objections that serious people have raised in the recent past.

                      Polarized people gonna polarize;
                      partisan ideologues gonna be partisan….

                      Just Sayin’……

                    • Because Obama’s father isn’t/wasn’t a citizen, and if he was born overseas he did not meet the requirements to be an automatic citizen.

                    • >Because Obama’s father isn’t/wasn’t a citizen, and if he was born overseas he did not meet the requirements to be an automatic citizen.

                      That doesn’t explain why there was any question at all about McCain.

                    • @Rick: Except that his father’s marriage to his mother was bigamous, and thus illegal. Under US law at the time, the child of a single mother who was a US citizen would also be a US citizen from birth.

                  • @Alsadius: The State department says this “A person born abroad out-of-wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother between December 24, 1952 and June 11, 2017 may acquire U.S. citizenship under Section 309(c) of the INA if the mother was a U.S. citizen at the time of the person’s birth and if the mother was physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a continuous period of one year prior to the person’s birth.

                    In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Sessions v. Morales-Santana, 582 U.S. ___, 137 S.Ct. 1678 (2017), a person born abroad out-of-wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother and alien father on or after June 12, 2017, may acquire U.S. citizenship at birth if the mother was a U.S. citizen at the time of the person’s birth and was physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a period of five years, including two after turning age 14, in accordance with Section 301(g) of the INA.”

                    As I recall the issue was if his mother met the residence requirement.

                • Granholm was not born a US citizen, so she is indeed ineligible to the presidency.

                  There was never any issue with McCain, but just to reinforce that he got the senate to pass a resolution affirming that in its opinion he was eligible.

                  The blurb claiming 0bama was born in Kenya was not for one of his actual books; it was in a list of authors put out by his agent when he first registered with her, long before he ever actually came up with a book. It’s pretty standard for agents to make these things up without bothering to check the facts with their client. Or even to deliberately lie in order to make the client look more interesting. It also falsely claimed his father was Kenya’s finance minister. The agent who wrote it has publicly admitted it wasn’t based on anything her client had told her.

              • The rule s that you must be a natural-born American citizen, not a naturalized one.The precise meaning of “natural-born citizen” has never been settled in court…but if he was born abroad to American citizens, it would be a shock if he were to be found ineligible.

        • Yup, there’s a lot of American veterans with a lot of experience at insurgency-type warfare. That’s another obstacle you’ll need to overcome.

          (What, did you think the average soldier would support you killing American legislators?)

          • Don’t be so certain they won’t…they take that oath very seriously, and there are lots of domestic enemies of the Constitution in the various legislatures.

            • A few would join you, I’m sure. A lot more see shooting the people who won the election as a threat to the “republican form of government”.

              • But how many of those see shooting people who violate the Constitution as a bad thing? Their oath is to the Constitution, not to any person or group of people.

          • > What, did you think the average soldier
            > would support you killing American legislators?

            I have a total of 10 years of active and reserve military time, spent a year in Iraq as a civilian contractor and two years in another location working fist in glove with American servicemen.

            I’ve got a *pretty* good feel for their attitudes.

            Ultimately as in all things it would depend on the details, but given that the politicians are arguably SHITTING ALL OVER THEIR OATHS TO FOLLOW THE CONSTITUTION, I’d say that the REMFs would support the politicians at a rate of about 25%–a lot of them are minorities from innner city districts who joined the military for a steady paycheck, “job training” and the retirement package.

            Amoung *actual* combat veterans? I’d be surprised if the Stalinists got support from one in 10.

              • Because a hot civil war would SUCK, even if we won and won quickly. Winning the cold civil war without having to fight actual shooting battles is so much better that it’s worth going for.

  25. Sorry, this is pathetic. If you were calculative you would send those people to the borders to stop massive influx of illegal immigrants which will be used as a ‘representative democratic’ army to erode all your rights at some point in the future. This is the real thing you see, introducing a massive amount of foreigners every year is weakening a country and sets the stage for revolution that will degrade the quality of life for everyone (most of those don’t care and will be used as peons willingly by any force that wants to takeover the state and have no care for the rights and liberties you already have). But people willing to kill to get back to work ? this is almost the reverse of the gulags situation, more akin to an “Islamic”-gulag where the citizens already surrendered to a life of work and drudgery even in the face of pandemic and acting like it’s all they know and all they deserve. Obviously those have nothing to lose are mostly those who are at a deficit of brain cells and you are dependent on them because in rabbitsocracy those who multiply fastest (read= the dumb and foolish ones) sets the tone.

    If you ask me, when your president speaks like a grade-Z mob gangster, mocks and belittles reporters, replies illogically this is more a shameful event and you hadn’t gotten your guns out at that. Your economy is at the hands of China, the American ethos is literally done with, all your films are bullshit CGI with PC common denominator rule-em-all bag of tricks, and this is lower than what the native population had.

    But ofcourse you miss all that because you are led to polarized distinctive politics that tears your country up. It is really sad that the nation that hosts many of the smartest minds in the world (at the expanse of other poor places) , the best bibliotheques is throwing all lines of advancement and greatness it could reach and settles on less than mediocre political us-vs-them base fights. But I guess that is what happens when too many foreigners are allowed to interfere and their voice accounted just like veteran citizens.

  26. ESR> (2) This is the American constitutional system working correctly and as designed by the Founders.

    Eric, I agree your analysis is correct as far as it goes. Civil disobedience and the threat of armed resistance were indeed part of the process by which Americans were supposed to protect their civil liberties.

    That being said, I also find your analysis incomplete about one crucial point: Before it comes to that, the people were supposed to exhaust their nonviolent options in that process first. In your post, you implied but have not demonstrated that the Michigan protesters had done that.

    After reading through this thread, I re-consulted the chapter in William Blackstone’s Commentaries “Of The Absolute Rights of Individuals”. Asserting and securing these rights was the reason Americans faught their revolution and wrote their constitution.

    These absolute rights of individuals, according to Blackstone (*), consisted of three substantive and three procedural rights. The substantive ones were life, liberty, and property. Let’s take it as given for now that the governor of Michigan violated the liberty of Michigan citizens.

    Once someone had violated your rights, you were supposed to exercise your three procedural rights in order: (1) Sue the other side in court; (2) petition the royal court (now the legislature) to change the law in a direction more protective of your rights. Only after you had made an honest effort tat that, and failed, you were supposed to use the last resort: (3) escalate the conflict by civil disobediance and armed resistance.

    The part where your analysis is incomplete, in my opinion, is steps (1) and (2). How do you conclude that the protesters have tried tried litigation and petitioning hard enough, and failed clearly enough, that armed resistance is now appropriate?

    ——————————-
    (*) A note to any pedants about the English-vs-American law thing: In the Eighteen-zeroes, tthe American jurist George Tucker published a widely-read comment of his own on Blackstone, describing how the American revolution changed the system described by Blackstone. It doesn’t materially affect the chapter on the absolute rights of individuals. (I can dig out the reference on request.)

    • >The part where your analysis is incomplete, in my opinion, is steps (1) and (2). How do you conclude that the protesters have tried tried litigation and petitioning hard enough, and failed clearly enough, that armed resistance is now appropriate?

      The fact that they felt driven to armed resistance at all at a pretty good clue in itself. That is a very, very risky thing to do, and people who aren’t mental cases generally don’t do it casually or self-destructively. If these people aren’t shown to be part of the 3% high-deviant cohort with extensive histories of crime and substance addiction I think they are entitled to a rebuttable presumption that they have exhausted other remedies.

      One important factor in this situation is the remedies you describe are slow. The protesters may judge that the harm from the lockdowns is escalating so rapidly that justice delayed won’t be justice at all. It is not for me to second-guess them on this; I’m not walking in their shoes. Again, I think they are entitled to a rebuttable presumption that they have gauged the harm correctly.

      • > I think they are entitled to a rebuttable presumption that they have exhausted other remedies.

        Isn’t that a naive assumption ? Everything on film and mass media is political these days.

        > One important factor in this situation is the remedies you describe are slow

        It’s often the case that waving a gun at someone’s face may get some things done fast, but not necessarily in a right way.

        Making your elected representatives malleable and squeezable to the threat of violent force can actually destabilize the stability of your regime and destroy every end people wants to work to achieve.

      • esr> The fact that they felt driven to armed resistance at all at a pretty good clue in itself. That is a very, very risky thing to do, and people who aren’t mental cases generally don’t do it casually or self-destructively.

        A moral panic might do it. Libertarians are just as human as, say, environmentalists. There’s no reason non-crazy Libertarians can’t have moral panics and do crazy things under their influence.

        One important factor in this situation is the remedies you describe are slow. The protesters may judge that the harm from the lockdowns is escalating so rapidly that justice delayed won’t be justice at all.

        Or again, they could be suffering a moral-panic attack. I specifically remember an old thread of yours where you point out how moral panic leads climate scientists to call or action against global warming far prematurely — long before they have the necessary data to conclude that action would do more good than harm. My libertarian-moral-panic hypothesis would fit analogous corner-cutting behavior in Michigan as well.

        But alright. Let’s stipulate that the protesters reasonably concluded, as you suggest, that justice delayed would be justice denied. That would only mean they had good reasons for cutting corners with the Founding Fathers’ process. But that wasn’t your original claim. Your original claim was that they followed the Founding Father’s process. So it appears you just moved your own goalposts.

        Side note: A good illustration of the Founding Fathers’ process without shortcuts is the middle of their Declaration of Independence. Observe how they recall all the peaceful, and no doubt time-consuming, remedies they sought before taking the drastic, dangerous and potentially self-destructive step of declaring independence and starting a civil war. And as their rhetoric makes clear, they were convinced that their patience played an important role in legitimizing this drastic step when they ultimately too it. It’s a striking contrast to what we saw in Michigan.

        • It’s a striking contrast to what we saw in Michigan.

          A reminder that “what we saw in Michigan” was not shooting the Governor and declaring independence, merely entering the legislature building while open carrying (which is apparently legal), thus giving a really strong hint that (a) the fourth box does exist, in case the Governor had forgotten and (b) the protestors consider that if their protest is ignored and the Governor sticks to her present course, then they will be justified in opening that box.

          You and Alsadius both seem to be blind to the difference between this “final warning” and, y’know, actually opening fire. Possibly because they both involve guns in the possession of The Little People, and what could possibly be worse than that?

          • There’s an important difference between threatening to kill them and actually killing them. Both are felonies, but murder is worse than uttering death threats.

            My point is that uttering death threats is bad enough to be worthy of criticism. But you’re right, it is not literally murder. (Under the Michigan legal code, I think it’s technically considered to be torture, oddly enough.)

            • Try to get your head round this.

              The Governor’s actions up to the time of the protest were not sufficient to justify killing her — and indeed the protestors didn’t.

              Plausible forecasts of the Governor’s future actions include some which would justify killing her, and the protest was to make clear that, in that event, the protestors would be willing to act on that.

              (And you’re still tossing the word “murder” around like it has any place in this conversation.)

              So either you believe:

              (1) no amount of tyranny ever justifies taking up arms and killing the tyrant. In which case fuck you and the theory you rode in on

              (2) it’s somehow improper to give any warning, display of capability or other indication that you would kill a hypothetical tyrant, until the tyranny has actually reached the level that justifies the killing (because that would be a “death threat” and eo ipso Baaaaad). Which of course makes it that much harder to establish ‘common knowledge’ of the willingness to resist, thus making successful revolution against such a tyrant harder, in which case See figure 1.

              So which is it?

              • Given that I was discussing legalities in that particular post, “murder” was the correct word.

                And to answer your question, 3) There is an amount of tyranny that’d justify overthrow, but this is so far short of it that discussing the possibility is a sign that the person having the discussion has completely lost perspective.

          • Edward Cree> You and Alsadius both seem to be blind to the difference between this “final warning” and, y’know, actually opening fire.

            Actually, my very first post to this thread was me pointing out to Alsadius that the mere carrying of guns was not dangerous to anyone’s life, and that Alsadius was wrong to characterize it as terrorism.

            My point in this sub-thread was specifically about the absence of lawsuits and petitions.

        • >Let’s stipulate that the protesters reasonably concluded, as you suggest, that justice delayed would be justice denied. That would only mean they had good reasons for cutting corners with the Founding Fathers’ process. But that wasn’t your original claim. Your original claim was that they followed the Founding Father’s process. So it appears you just moved your own goalposts

          It’s not cutting corners if the peaceful remedies would not in fact be remedies at all because they cannot possibly be enacted or take effect in time. I could not in good conscience urge the demonstrators to substitute doing something useless for something potentially effective.

          Maybe it changes your evaluation if you know something I didn’t at the time I wrote the OP: many of the legislators present during the demonstration agreed with the protesters’ grievances and supported them being there to put pressure on the others.

          • It’s also worth noting that the emergency measures being protested were pushed through via a shortcut. The particulars were decreed without going through the usual law-making process with the usual political checks and balances. Insisting that the protesters take the slow path to undo those quickly imposed emergency measures is a double standard.

          • esr Maybe it changes your evaluation if you know something I didn’t at the time I wrote the OP: many of the legislators present during the demonstration agreed with the protesters’ grievances and supported them being there to put pressure on the others.

            Did these legislators’ support specifically extend to ahowing up inside the state capitol with guns?

            My only problem is with the protesters’ premature escalation. I sympathize (despite some qualifications) with the substance of their grievances, and I have no problem with the fact that they’re protesting.

            • >Did these legislators’ support specifically extend to ahowing up inside the state capitol with guns?

              Yes, as a matter of fact. Most of the Michigan state legislators are, as it turns out, Republicans with views about armed revolt and the second Amendment similar to mine. I didn’t know this when I wrote the OP because our media are doing their expected best not to let that truth get out.

              Also note that the protesters carrying arms where they did is completely legal. They couldn’t be charged under Michigan law unless they made terroristic threats, which they didn’t.

  27. This will be a three-parter, mainly because the website is rejecting the post out-of-hand, probably on the basis of length.

    Anyway, I’m going to try to be diplomatic. I’m going to try to attack the post rather than the poster. And I’m going to apologize in advance for any failures in diplomacy, because the top post in this thread is the ‘least-lucid’ thing I’ve seen posted on this blog in the last decade.

    The top post misses everything that might provide context, and in doing so, essentially gets everything wrong, except perhaps where it implies, quite correctly I assume, that a big protest by people carrying guns gets 2nd-Amendment types all worked up… so worked up I think, that what the author wrote about the incident unfortunately missed the forest for the trees. (Here I imagine someone from the peanut gallery sarcastically typing, “Troutwaxer, tell us how you really feel!”) The sad thing is, this is the diplomatic version. The undiplomatic version got erased three drafts ago, and was so hot-headed my computer overheated!

    So why do I think the top-post is so… (blasphemy redacted) appallingly thoughtless and irrelevant? Maybe irrelevant is the wrong word. The post is, in fact, very relevant. It’s just that the relevance is completely context-free. It discusses what might be a great victory for public protest – but only in a very restricted world, a world where we’re all wearing blinders, a world which is completely free of cause and effect, context, or political understanding. For starters, the post doesn’t notice that the protests were heavily astroturfed and encouraged by Trump, who tweeted “Liberate Michigan”

    As Wikipedia noted (link below):

    “One of the first protests was in Michigan on April 15, 2020. It was organized via a Facebook group called “Operation Gridlock”, which was created by the Michigan Freedom Fund and the Michigan Conservative Coalition. A spokesman for the Michigan Conservative Coalition encouraged groups in other states to copy the Operation Gridlock wording and templates. Protesters in numerous other states said they were inspired by Michigan, and they used Michigan’s material on their own websites, Facebook groups, and Reddit pages to promote their protests. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer called attention to the fact that the Michigan Freedom Fund is funded in part by the DeVos family, but a spokesman said the family had nothing to do with the protests.

    The Trump campaign declined to answer whether it was directly involved with organizing the protest in Michigan, but key protest organizers who did identify themselves were Meshawn Maddock, the wife of Republican state representative Matt Maddock and a member of the national advisory board for Women for Trump, and Marian Sheridan, who serves as a vice chair on the Michigan Republican Party.

    Here are a few articles on who encouraged the protests and how:

    https://time.com/5825840/anti-quarantine-protests-organizers-trump/

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/devos-has-deep-ties-to-michigan-protest-group-but-is-quiet-on-tactics

    https://www.salon.com/2020/04/20/astroturf-gun-rights-activists-and-prominent-gop-donors-push-protests-of-coronavirus-restrictions/

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/22/opinion/coronavirus-protests-astroturf.html

    https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/salvadorhernandez/coronavirus-quarantine-protests-facebook-groups

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protests_over_responses_to_the_2020_coronavirus_pandemic

    Note the strong presence of “all the usual suspects.” The Kochs are involved. So is the DeVos family, (despite their claims that they are not.) And a few ex-Tea-Party types. Naturally, there’s a right-wing law-firm involved, and you can bet the reporters have missed a few names and faces in pursuing the story.

    And who does Trump want Michigan liberated from? Aliens? A Foreign Power? The Second Coming of Cthulhu? Nope. Trump wants to liberate Michigan from it’s own democratically elected governor, (it’s important to note while you think about this that Michigan is the state ranked sixth in the nation in deaths per 100,000) who has responded to the extremely high level of positive cases and deaths in her state by very sensibly and intelligently closing down everything she could, while Republican legislators in Michigan, (who like the GOP (Grifting Old People) across the nation have quite horribly and immorally politicized the COVID-19 outbreak,) took her to court to force her to stop saving lives!!

    https://www.statmap.org/rankedstates.html

    (I’m probably being a little unfair here. There are some Republican governors who did the right thing and closed their states as quickly as it made sense – note where their states fall on the list above, and of course I’ve already noted Bush II’s competence on this matter – while Democrats like Cuomo didn’t close his state nearly as quickly as he should have, and is probably to blame not only for the major problems in New York, but also in New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusets, etc. Why’s he’s a media superstar these days is beyond me, (except that he’s got far more sense than Trump!))

    And of course Trump got into the act after the protests he’d demanded, telling us by tweet that the protestors in Michigan were “very good people,” which seems to be his code for “their views on race are similar to my own.” The full quote was, “The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire. These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal.” Make a deal. Could that mean, “do something that’s medically unsafe?” That’s how it sounds to me. Yeah, make the crazy people who don’t understand infectious diseases and epidemiology happy!

    • >Could that mean, “do something that’s medically unsafe?”

      Considering the utter and complete failure of the modelers, and the actual statistics on COVID mortality anywhere people aren’t as crammed into each others’ faces as the New York subways, “medically safe” is what South Dakota and Sweden have been doing: no tyrannical and un-Constitutional lockdowns to begin with.

      There is no medical justification left for the power grabs that are now going on. None. Hospitals overwhelmed? Never happened. Vent shortage? Never happened. Death rates? Order of magnitude below the predictions even with most effective mitigation assumed.

      If the Trump campaign was involved in organizing this, good for Trump. It’s a virtuous action in defense of civil liberty I can set against his many failings. I’m OK with him gaining a political benefit from virtuous behavior.

      • The reason the modelers have failed (except for New York) is that most states have locked down. The six counties in California that were our candidates for a New York style outbreak were locked down on March 16th, with schools closing on March 13th. Considering that the doubling rate for cases at the time was around 3.7 days, the difference between California and New York, where full-state shut downs started happening on March 23rd should be obvious… New York had a chance for three more doublings in that ten days, and sadly, it shows in the numbers.

        The death rate I read about from China in early March was around 2 percent. If you look at the numbers of deaths in the U.S. (around 65,000 as of yesterday) versus confirmed cases (around 1,110,000 as of yesterday) you’ll see very clearly that our death rate is just less than 6 percent. In other words, we’re well-above the death rate China saw!

        https://ncov2019.live/data

        And if you think we’re doing well, you might compare the numbers for the U.S. with the rest of the world. You’ll notice we’ve done so poorly at controlling the disease that the U.S. cases are approximately 1/3 of the world’s total.

        https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

        You might also consider that we’re just getting started; if the numbers are to be believed, less than ten-percent of the U.S. is currently infected, and the disease is still working it’s way into the rural areas. We could easily see 10-20 times the number of deaths we’re seeing now, and God help us if the scientists who think it’s difficult to develop antibodies against Corona virus are correct!

        As to the matter of Civil Liberties, I don’t see anyone chasing these yahoos down and arresting them for their bizarre facebook posts – the idiots literally couldn’t get arrested, despite blocking a hospital’s emergency room entrance – or taking their guns or bibles, or hauling them off to camps, or anything else which would indicate that their rights or religions aren’t being respected… so I’m not sure I’d say that the protestors are having their liberties restricted in a fashion which is out of line with the dangers – keep in mind that Michigan is the sixth-worst state in the U.S. where COVID-19 is concerned.

        Also note that the concerns laid out in our founding documents were “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” The right of some dumbass to fail at mask-wearing and social distancing stops where my right to Life begins, and I’d just as soon not have my Pursuit of Happiness interrupted so the Presidents’ failures end up on page 2 because he and his allies got a bunch of yahoos in Michigan riled up at the people who are trying to keep them from dying!

        What I am seeing is a combination of monumental selfishness and total cluelessness about who’s causing the problem, or even what the problem is – maybe we could all not die, and maybe our government could support us in this hope! (Which is where the government of Michigan is failing.)

        Unfortunately, the kind of stupid, thoughtless politicization we’re seeing was probably inevitable once Trump went on the attack after people began demanding that he do his job and unleash the Feds against the disease instead of wanking himself at Mar-A-Lago!

        • >The reason the modelers have failed (except for New York) is that most states have locked down

          Bullshit. This is a weak post hoc ergo propter hoc rationalization being thrown out to justify epic-scale predictive failure. We’re running orders of magnitude below the projections that assumed most effective mitigation measures.

          On top of this we have the example of places like South Dakota and Sweden to demonstrate that the ceterus paribus effect of lockdowns is pretty close to statistical noise. Because of differences in local response we’re seeing an experiment in comparative effect that couldn’t be much better if it had been deliberately designed, and the result is that the next time I hear an epidemiologist advocate coercive lockdowns my response is going to be “fuck you and the horse you rode in on”.

          I’m angry with myself for not being more skeptical sooner. I should have known the “science” was bullshit as soon as the political power grabs started to dominate over voluntary civilian response.

          >And if you think we’re doing well, you might compare the numbers for the U.S. with the rest of the world. You’ll notice we’ve done so poorly at controlling the disease that the U.S. cases are approximately 1/3 of the world’s total.

          You’re making it difficult for me to stay polite. GodDAMMIT, you have to normalize for population when making that claim – big countries having more cases is inevitable and not a function of quality of response. Per capita – which does indicate quality of response – we are are in fact doing extremely well.

          >You might also consider that we’re just getting started; if the numbers are to be believed, less than ten-percent of the U.S. is currently infected,

          I used to believe numbers like that. Until they kept being bullshit and noise every time we seropositivity-tested a larger cohort, and the estimates of asymptomatic infection went up, and the estimate of CFR went down. Three weeks ago I was rude to the “it’s just the flu” crowd; now I think I might have to apologize to them in another month.

          • The important part for reducing infection rate is people not doing the things that can spread diseases. The disease doesn’t care if you do it because you want to or whether the government made you, all it cares about is whether you do it.

            I’d wager that both Sweden and North Dakota have behaviours very similar to Michigan, in practice. I doubt nightclubs are open in either, I’d wager a lot more people are working from home than normal, and strangers probably still cross the street when walking towards you.

            Yes, that means that some of the coercive measures are likely unnecessary. That is especially true in areas where the populace is generally, for lack of a better word, well-behaved. If you have a populace willing to go out of their way to help each other, despite great personal inconvenience, laws probably aren’t needed to get social distancing. Anecdotally, Sweden and North Dakota both seem like places with pretty high social cohesion levels, so the need for it is much lower there.

            Note also that this does cut against the “it’s just the flu” arguments. If the death rate for coronavirus (with massive distancing efforts) and the flu (with no distancing efforts) are the same, the former is a far worse disease, because all those distancing efforts are needed just to keep it equal. It’s a bit like saying that I’m as good a basketball player as LeBron James, as long as his legs are broken.

            • >Anecdotally, Sweden and North Dakota both seem like places with pretty high social cohesion levels, so the need for it is much lower there.

              Sweden used to have high cohesion. Until they invited in a bunch of barbarians from the 7th century.

              There’s been a pretty well controlled experiment running south of the Mason-Dixon line where cohesion is much lower than South Dakota’s due to ethnolinguistic diversity and large illegal-immigrant populations. Again the result is pretty clear: ceterus paribus the jurisdictions with lockdowns simply aren’t doing noticeably better than the ones without. The actual mortality drivers don’t notice the difference.

              And that says we’re paying a huge price in lost liberties and economic damage for nothing.

              • Again the result is pretty clear: ceterus paribus the jurisdictions with lockdowns simply aren’t doing noticeably better than the ones without. The actual mortality drivers don’t notice the difference.

                Oh yeah? Explain Florida and Georgia, both of which have had spikes of COVID cases after easing lockdowns recently.

                Lockdown isn’t the only solution to the crisis, but it’s the price we have to pay for not taking responsible measured action (testing, contact tracing, quarantining) early in the pandemic.

                To support those… fucking idiots in Michigan as patriots for demanding the right, with implied threat of violence, to increase spread of COVID and put American lives at risk is appalling.

                • >Oh yeah? Explain Florida and Georgia, both of which have had spikes of COVID cases after easing lockdowns recently.

                  Get back to me when those spikes are above the noise level for all-cause mortality – or anywhere near the expected number of excess deaths due to lockdown-induced suicide and stress diasthesis. Lockdowns kill, too.

                  • Do lockdowns take 2,909 lives in one day? Because that’s what easing the lockdowns did on May 1.

                    • N.b. that figure is nationwide. The point stands: more people die when lockdowns are eased.

                    • It’s been bouncing around 2000 +/- 500 for weeks. Also with a distinct pattern of weekly variance in reporting.

                    • >Do lockdowns take 2,909 lives in one day?

                      Uh. No. The incubation period makes that kind of fast mortality from the change impossible. If removing the lockdowns causes a real mortality increase, you’ll see it two weeks or more later, not the next day.

                      Even then you can’t make assumptions. You’re left with the problem of explaining why lockdown vs. no-lockdown jurisdictions with similar demographics and exposure don’t show large differences in mortality rates per capita – the Netherlands (293 per million) vs. Sweden (263 per million), for example.

                      As often as not, COVID mortality is higher in the locked-down member of such pairs.

                      Same pattern holds in the U.S. Bottom-up adaptation works and keeps mortality rates low except in places like NYC where living conditions expose everybody to large viral loads. Mandated lockdowns at best do so close to nothing that they’re not worth the economic cost. At worst they inflict net harm.

                      If lockdowns actually made a serious positive difference, Sweden should be a plague hellhole now. Instead it’s doing only a little worse per capita than the U.S., doubtless due to inferior medical infrastructure.

                      What your figure actually demonstrates, if true, is there’s a lot of random noise in the mortality rates. Not very surprising, there.

                    • Right, because easing the lockdowns caused an immediate death toll.

                      I think not.

                    • Dude, you’re beclowning yourself. The disease takes a couple weeks for spread to be obvious, because of the fairly long incubation period, and mortality takes even longer. And eased restrictions aren’t the same thing as “everyone goes back to New Year’s Eve”-level crowding. And finally, as others have said, the daily death toll was around that level before.

                      Those death tolls are why we should take it seriously, of course. But they’re not an hour-by-hour tracker of the merits of various policy approaches. You need to look at them over a period of weeks, minimum.

                    • That’s fucking ridiculous.

                      According to the CDC, which is suspect but the best we have, SYMPTOMS take 2 to 19 days to develop after initial infection.

                      Easing lock-downs on 1 May would have caused ZERO deaths by now (4 May).

                    • Had to give you a “-” on that one Jeff. It will take a couple weeks for any changes to be obvious. (Current doubling rate seems to be about 24 days, so maybe longer. We’ll see.)

                • > those… fucking idiots in Michigan

                  What about the violaters of the beach closures in Orange County Los Angeles? Alsadius ignored that question when I asked it, care to take a crack at it?

                  Statistically, there was of course a non-zero probability of one of the weapons brought into the Michigan State legislature going off, accidentally or intentionally. That’s presumably a primary if unstated component of Alsadius’s argument: we can’t prove that a discharge was impossible, so we can’t logically rule out the “intent” of mass murder.

                  Statistically, there is a non-zero probability of one of those “fucking idiots” from Orange County infecting and killing someone in my family. All it would take is some moron from LA going to see one of his college buddies in Chicago, or some moron Chicago businessman deciding he was “bored now!” sitting in his LA hotel and heading to the beach since “everyone else was”.

                  So, we can also call those LA douche bags “fucking idiot bored-now mass murderers”? Or are those epithets exclusive to red staters?

                  Ha ha, yes I know what rhetorical means. Again, the beach goers weren’t actually carrying any of those wicked firearms, they were just fucking around on the beach, which no lefties will have a problem with of course. Bread and circuses are what the elite are all about, after all.

                  • The people in California were dumbasses, no doubt about it. Contrariwise, the counties which did open their beaches were Ventura and Orange counties, both of which tend red. (Orange County was the home of Bob Dornan.)

                    • Can anyone find a single documented instance of anyone catching a respiratory virus from a stranger six feet away at a beach? It seems highly unlikely to me.

                    • Okay, how about Central Park, NYC? CNN showed it thronged yesterday, despite months of Cuomo pleading people to continue to obey the shelter-in-place and mask directives. That blue enough for anybody? Anyone gonna call the NYCers “fucking idiot bored mass murderers”?

                      This one will get me in even more trouble no doubt… but again, I am getting this all from the holy writ of CNN itself. This was last week, forget exactly whether Wednesday or Thursday: cell phone footage of a “house party” in Chicago (newscaster’s description). Can’t find a CNN link, but this (among the several that show up on google) attributes it to CNN:

                      https://www.kmov.com/news/viral-video-shows-large-chicago-house-party-during-coronavirus-outbreak/article_c4282018-8884-11ea-aeb0-d3e89b17e6c3.html

                      So who wants to step up and call those depicted in the video “fucking idiot bored mass murderers”? Anybody?

                      Or else explain to me –if that seems easier– how a bunch of farmers trying desperately to save their livelihoods and families are more “fucking idiots” than people who just had to have their day on the beach, or picnic in the park, or group twerking.

                    • CNN showed it thronged yesterday, despite months of Cuomo pleading people to continue to obey the shelter-in-place and mask directives.

                      Are you sure this isn’t another wide angle lens camera trick.

                  • What about the violaters of the beach closures in Orange County Los Angeles? Alsadius ignored that question when I asked it, care to take a crack at it?

                    I don’t recall seeing that one. Can you point me in the right direction?

                    Statistically, there was of course a non-zero probability of one of the weapons brought into the Michigan State legislature going off, accidentally or intentionally. That’s presumably a primary if unstated component of Alsadius’s argument: we can’t prove that a discharge was impossible, so we can’t logically rule out the “intent” of mass murder.

                    FWIW, that thought had not crossed my mind. Accidents happening would make the protesters look like damn fools, and might result in negligent homicide charges, but I was discussing the possibility of intentional killings.

                    Can anyone find a single documented instance of anyone catching a respiratory virus from a stranger six feet away at a beach? It seems highly unlikely to me.

                    FWIW, it also seems unlikely to me unless the infected person is coughing a lot, but by the law of large numbers it’s probably happened once. That’s un-testable, though, because that kind of community spread cannot plausibly be traced.

                    • The chance of a negligent discharge is not zero, but it’s pretty close to zero, especially if the weapon is stored and not being handled.

                      Modern firearms will not go off unless the trigger is pulled, and almost all rifles have mechanical safeties. (And, that assuming that the weapons had a round up the pipe at all).

                    • > I don’t recall seeing that one. Can you point me in the right direction?

                      It was in the post where I linked to the map of covid-19 cases in Michigan.

                      I mistakenly wrote “Orange Beach” in that post instead of “Orange County” while posting from my phone, sorry about that.

                    • Ah, I found it. Basically asking where my outrage was against people going to the beach?

                      tl;dr, the beach isn’t inherently dangerous, as long as you keep your distance. It’s like parks(which should never have been closed), or sidewalks(which haven’t been). For individuals who actually do act dangerously, I’ve got plenty of condemnation, but “going to a large open area” isn’t enough to earn you a dose of it by itself.

            • It’s South Dakota, not North Dakota, that’s been the subject of the current hate storm from the Democrats and the media (BIRM). This matters because I had my first sit-down meal in a restaurant in over a month last Saturday night in a little town just south of Sioux Falls named Tea. The barbecue joint we went to had every other table marked as Reserved. The wait staff took appropriate precautions. The food was properly coked (though there was a distinct lack of smoke in the meat, sadly).

              You see, people in the Dakotas know that they can trust each other to do the right thing. And they haven’t paid any sort of a price in cases for it. (That pork plant in Sioux Falls that had the cluster of cases would not have closed if SD had had a lockdown: it would have been designated an essential business.) I can’t speak for the people of the coasts where leftism holds sway, but out here, people can be expected to Do RIght.

          • “This is a weak post hoc ergo propter hoc rationalization being thrown out to justify epic-scale predictive failure. We’re running orders of magnitude below the projections that assumed most effective mitigation measures.”

            Sigh. More sighing. The current level of deaths seems to be around 2000/day. IF things simply continue as they have been for the last month, no increase in the level of deaths, we’ll end up around 60,000 deaths a month. And that will mean COVID-19 easily outstrips cancer, diabetes, or heart attacks as the worst killer of the year. In fact, it will be the worst set of cold/flu deaths since the 1918 flu. That’s without anything like “continuing exponential increase” or the problem of whether things start to get worse again when the temperature goes down. Here’s a useful chart:

            https://coronavirus.1point3acres.com/en

            “You’re making it difficult for me to stay polite. GodDAMMIT, you have to normalize for population when making that claim – big countries having more cases is inevitable and not a function of quality of response.”

            More sighing. Have you done the math? If you assume 400 million Americans (an overestimate by any measure) we’re 0.5% of the world’s population. By that measure, we should not have anything close to a third of the world’s cases. We also have 25% of the world’s deaths, which means that at the very least our death rate is running in overdrive!

            And once again, we’re only two months into this thing! We had our first US death on February 26th of this year, then the total deaths increased from 2 deaths to 2000 deaths over the course of a single month. That’s 10 doublings in 30 days! By early April we’re seeing more than a thousand deaths a day. By mid-April we’re seeing an average of 2000 deaths/day, and this has continued up to the present day. If that doesn’t terrify you, I don’t know what will! (Hint, 2000 deaths/day means 540,000 deaths by the end of the year. That’s without any increase in the death rate at all!

            Also note that the death rate levels out around April 9th, 2 weeks after shelter-in-place orders go out. (There’s one big jump on 4/14, when New York changed their methods of counting deaths.)

            Here’s another useful chart:

            https://covidtracking.com/data/us-daily

            This chart also tracks the number of tests done every day; note how we didn’t do our first test until February 27th, (long after South Korea was doing thousands of tests a day.) The upshot of this is that we were not testing enough for all of February and most of March, and may still be under-testing. The other upshot of this is that there are a lot of “pneumonia” and “flu” deaths in March and April that might need to be re-categorized.

            • Two words: herd immunity. There’s no reason to believe that the current death rate will continue the entire year or any substantial part of it.

            • >The current level of deaths seems to be around 2000/day.

              I no longer trust that figure. Every since the emergency package gave hospitals the ability to slap a 15% surcharge on treatment if COVID-19 is implicated, those numbers are corrupted.

              >Have you done the math?

              Yes, I have; remember who you’re talking to. Our per-capita mortality is about the same as Germany’s, which is at the bottom (fewest deaths) of the list of countries where mortality reporting doesn’t suck. Possibly less because our mortality figures are corrupted now.

              >The upshot of this is that we were not testing enough for all of February and most of March, and may still be under-testing.

              It is utterly certain that we are under-testing. Do you know why that is?

              Let me give you a clue. Two days ago I called my GP and tried to set up antibody tests for myself and my wife. His office told me they won’t do that yet; the tests aren’t reliable, too many false positives and false negatives.

              So even if every single hospital were resisting the urge to profit-take by stuffing every possible instance of mortality into the box marked COVID-19, they could not honestly know the rate.

              Get back to me when you can establish a mortality rate based on reliable tests and incentives that don’t reward inflating it.

              • The problem with this statement is that you’re conflating antibody tests (unreliable, test for whether you’ve had COVID-19 in the past and now have any resistance) to PCR tests (ridiculously accurate, easy, and cheap, can essentially be done with off-the-shelf lab components; but tests only for the presence of SARS-CoV2 right now). Patient diagnosis relies on the latter, as does detection of spread.

                Undertesting to detect spread has nothing to do with unreliable tests and everything to do with FDA/CDC regulations. Remember the lab in Washington that was testing people and got a Cease and Desist order from the feds, because their test hadn’t been approved yet? The reason they felt like they were qualified to switch from influenza testing to COVID-19 testing is because they were doing something that, to biochemists, is child’s play. In a sensible world, the paper-pushers who countenanced that letter would face a firing squad for it.

                Anything involving antibodies, by contrast, is deep black magic and fiendishly hard to get right. That there are a ton of false positives and false negatives from those tests is almost certainly true; but you should be taking this into consideration when evaluating the California studies as well.

                • There are lots of varieties of Corona Virus. Making sure you’re testing for the right one is probably pretty deep stuff and difficult to get right. Note my post elsewhere on the subject; IIRC the numbers they found were consonant with the expected false-positive rate. (Not to mention the other things wrong with the study.)

                  • With all due respect, do you have any idea what you’re talking about?

                    PCR is basically the grep of the biochemistry world. Designing a PCR test with laser-like precision is not hard. The only “post elsewhere” of yours I can see that you might be referring to is about seropositivity tests, but I already agreed that those are finicky, so I don’t know why you’d be correcting me about that.

                    • I meant for antibody tests. Sorry if that wasn’t communicated clearly.

            • Another factor that you are omitting from your analysis: you are assuming that all reported CoVID-19 deaths actually were due to CoVID-19. Unfortunately, the incentives here are really perverse. Because states seeing more CoVID-19 cases and deaths get more funding from the feds, hospitals are now reporting any death at all where the patient was possibly suspected based on symptoms of having the virus as a CoVID-19 death, even if the death weren’t due to the virus itself, and even if no actual testing (e.g. serology tests) were performed and no virus confirmed present. Hell, the CDC actually put out guidelines suggesting this very method of counting CoVID-19 deaths!

              How many deaths were actually caused by the virus? How many were due to preexisting conditions? How many didn’t even involve Winnie-the-Flu? How many were deaths that would’ve gone unnoticed before we hospitalized everyone with the sniffles? We don’t know, and we’ll probably never know for sure.

            • “If you assume 400 million Americans (an overestimate by any measure) we’re 0.5% of the world’s population.”

              400,000,000 = 0.5% x 80,000,000,000

              The world population is not 80 billion. It is about 7.5 billion. US population is about 320 million. 320,000,000 / 7,500,000,000 = 32 / 750 = 4.27%.

              I find it very hard to take seriously any argument from someone who makes such a gross arithmetical error.

              • You’re quite correct that I made an error, (I used a calculator to divide 400 million by 8 billion and forgot to move the decimal point – definitely my bad.)

                But the argument is exactly the same if the U.S. is 5 percent of the world’s population. We shouldn’t have 32 percent of the world’s cases and 25 percent of the world’s deaths. Those numbers point to extraordinary incompetence.

                • Mostly on the part of other nations, though. You think Africa is running millions of test kits? India? Do you think China or Iran are honestly reporting the numbers of deaths they’re experiencing?

                  Really, you can only compare the US to other developed liberal democracies. Dictatorships will lie, and undeveloped nations can’t get reliable numbers. And by those standards, the US is about average. If you look at the G7 nations, for example, the US is 4th – Italy is the worst, then the UK and France are close behind. The US is about half their level, Canada and then Germany are about half the US level, and Japan is way lower than anyone else.

            • >A tool to help compare normalized numbers. Only useful for folks who want to make meaningful comparisons.

              No big surprises there except for the part where Germany’s per-capita death rate fell through the floor while I wasn’t looking. Good for them. Unless they’ve buggered up their reporting the opposite way from the U.S., that is.

              U.S. still coping better than Italy, Spain, UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Ireland, and Switzerland. Outside the G20 there are of course good reasons to suspect massive under-reporting.

              Canada is an interesting outlier.

              • The Confirmed Case fatality rate in Belgium, UK, France, Netherlands, Italy, Sweden and Spain are alarming, all over 10%

                I’m not sure if this being confounded by the rate of testing.